What gets said matters

Culture, advocates, & word of mouth  

SCS Swag - Med
During the past week I had the opportunity to attend the fourth annual BazaarVoice Social Commerce Summit in Austin, Texas. It was a great even that was exceptionally well hosted and was attended by over 600 practitioners and thought leaders. 

I couldn't help notice the frequency with which featured speakers and attendees spoke with authority about the importance of word of mouth marketing and advocacy as critical success factors in the social commerce space. The message was loud and clear. The consumer is quickly becoming the "brand manager" for your company. What she experiences, shares, and talks about is far more influential than what a brand can say and share about itself.
The importance of being able to identify, engage, and enable your brands true advocates is fast becoming an essential component of today's marketing mix. Tools are increasingly more capable of assisting in the effort. BazaarVoice continues to be a leader in helping brands collect and share the reviews and stories about the qualities and shortcomings of a brand experience. 
But the tools are only tools. The larger part of the solution is seated in much more critical components of your company. It's in your vision. It's in your mission. It's in your culture. 

If you haven't adjusted those - if you aren't embedding the voice of the customer in every strategic decision that your company makes - the tools won't get you where you want to be.  
Culture Eats Strategy For Lunch
Here are a dozen key takeaways that address the importance of corporate culture, from this year's summit - and these are just the tip of the iceberg.  
One in Three
  1. Transparency is the currency of consumer trust
  2. Social commerce requires the strategy of a symphony, all instruments playing in concert. It is not a solo act.
  3. A switch to a cultural imperative is required when a communication culture is empowered.
  4. When someone in the organization says, "We need to educate the consumer," it really means "We are all out of ideas!"
  5. Social is not a media type. It's a cultural shift!
  6. When customers become numbers, bad things happen.
  7. Key principles of social design: A) People first, content second. B) Make sharing simple and fast. C) A few can activate many.
  8. Word of mouth on steroids is when friends share the likes and interests of friends... over and over again.
  9. Companies that operate in silos can't win big. They can only win small.
  10. The great thing about the great digital equalizer is that if your product or service is bad, you die fast.
  11. Great social mantra: Learn it. Love it. Live it.
  12. Effective Word of mouth is the ultimate connection to high touch relationships.
Thanks to everyone at BazaarVoice for convening an excellent group of thought leaders.

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  • Steve Lawson
    Apr. 11, 2011
    Rod -

    Great post. #10 really should move up to number one. In my consulting practice, I have met with too many small businesses that want to embrace social media but aren't interested in changing the way they do business. You hit it on the head.

    Social Media only works to a company's advantage when they have a compelling "real" story to tell. If they can't articulate that story, or if the story they are telling is not true, they will no longer be able to survive.

The Fine Print

Rod Brooks (that's me) is VP & CMO of PEMCO Mutual Insurance Company and serves as Immediate Past Chair of the Board of Directors for the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA).  It's important to disclose both of those relationships and to be clear that this is my personal blog where I share thoughts and opinions that are solely my own.  Contact me!

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