First Chris Dixon tweeted, “Does anyone really want to have a “conversation with brands”? I I want my relationship to Starbucks limited to buying coffee.”
Roger Ehrenberg then responded with a great post on authenticity in brand conversations.
I would argue that they are both right, they are just talking about two different people. Just as Dixon once wrote about techies vs normals, when it comes to brands there are enthusiasts and normals.
Every good brand has enthusiasts. I spoke recently to a large apparel company who has an email list of some 40 million customers, but about 2 million of them will open every marketing email. These people love to hear from their beloved brand, they crave a personal connection of some kind (i.e. authenticity), they will follow a twitter or Facebook feed (and not just for deals), and they don’t need cash prizes or direct incentives to get involved in an initiative.
Not every brand has these people, but every brand should try to cultivate an enthusiast base.
From a startup perspective, you want to think about how you can get *your* enthusiasts involved and evangelizing. Brainstorm on something more active than mere retweets and email forwarding. It needs to be fun, meaningful and people cannot feel used. Again, you *don’t* need a cash prize.
Don’t forget that the majority of your customers will be “normals” (which affects your product design decisions), but if you are lucky enough to have enthusiasts, involve them and cultivate the relationship as much as you can!
OK, back into the cave for this product push…here beta… heeeerrrreee beta, good boy!
Interesting recent posts somewhat related:
- Josh Kopelman, Everyone I spoke with loved the idea…
- Eric Wiesen, Customer Service is the New Location
- Sarah Tavel, Online Retailers are Innovating: Customer Service is #1