On Wednesday of last week, I gave Mediacom a call on the Social Media Phone. HOW?
By doing this, I posted on Twitter:
“Hey Mediacom, my web connection is on the fritz, can you guys please give me a call?”
Why did I post it to Twitter instead of just picking up my “real” phone? Well, a couple reasons:
I HATE being on hold. And anyone that’s EVER called Mediacom knows that’s their favorite game. And
Remember when customer support via email was first introduced? It was a harder transition that one might think, especially for larger companies. But with social media, some companies have already jumped in while others are just beginning to recognize that potential. In time, I it will become a standard practice.
There are major differences here, however. Adding email to the customer service mix was just another technology or mechanism by which companies could have private conversations with their customers. This is not the case with the Social Media Phone. These conversations (unless direct messaged or texted) are public, and that changes everything.
It also flips something else upside down: businesses now line up for customers instead of customers lining up for businesses. Rather than asking customers to do the searching, to find the businesses, to initiate contact, to get in line (or call center queues, etc.), it reverses everything and “puts the burden” on businesses to listen and respond to customers wherever they are.
This marketing reversal from “Supply -> Demand” to “Demand -> Supply” model was outlined quite thoroughly in a book I recently read. “How Companies Win,” by Rick Kash and David Calhoun. They explain that reversing the traditional train of thought from “I have this ‘stuff’ to sell, I need to find a market…” to “This market needs this ‘stuff,’ we poised to fulfill that…” has been perpetuated through social media channels.
Companies who choose to jump in early will benefit the most. Right now, this practice is remarkable. It gets noticed and gets talked about. It represents an opportunity to delight customers with remarkable service.
Meet your customers at their point of need.
Has your company picked up the Social Media Phone yet? Can you cite other instances where social media has enhanced / solved trying customer service issues?
Chime in. Let us know how you’re integrating the Social Media Phone into your marketing plans. Or better yet, pick up the Social Media Phone and ask us how!
Andrew B. Clark
The Brand Chef
CreateWOWmarketing, LLC has been honored with the opportunity to put on a branding seminar for Practical Farmers of Iowa on March 25th. The seminar will consist of a full day of events, starting with a keynote from Andrew B. Clark, The Brand Chef about TRUE Branding and how a TRUE brand can affect the marketing and sales in an Ag-Business environment. The participants will then break out into sessions based on the TRUE branding model and work together to discover the TRUTH, RELEVANCE, UNIQUENESS and ENGAGING aspects of their own agriculture-based businesses.
On March 18th, Andrew had the privilege to be interviewed on the KWMT Power Lunch program with Von Ketlesen. In this short lunchtime segment, The Brand Chef and Von discuss the seminar and the opportunities for the attendees in further detail.
For more information on the seminar, or if you would like to attend, please click here.
I had the honor of working with the marketing panel and producing media for Entrefest 2011 last week. We had some spectacular speakers and some break-out sessions on marketing, sales, technology, finances and management for entrepreneurs. But as always, there were some standout sessions.
Adam Steen’s (from 25 Connections) session on Networking was one that got a LOT of positive reactions. Below, thanks to Adam and the Entrefest crew, we’ have captured and re-posted the session!
(sorry for the typing and my loud laughter… I was right behind the camera and couldn’t resist being involved!)
Color me inspired.
His name is Matt Morgan. Unassuming, but as deep and spiritual as any man I’ve ever met. Matt and I met at the monthly #CIB (Central Iowa Bloggers) event a while back.
This is a great event where every first Friday of the month, bloggers, social media newbies and seasoned stud-bolts alike gather in conversation and coffee to share ideas and foster strength in our passion for blogging and social media. It’s a joyful and exciting morning (about 6 hours worth for some) and you’re guaranteed to see a handful of new faces along with the #SMCDSM standards every month.
By (self) definition, Matt is a proud Youth Pastor at the Fort Des Moines Church of Christ, but by divine decree, Matt is a TRUE artist. In any medium, with any person, Matt inspires the best.
There’s a saying that goes something like this…
“If your job is doing what you love, then you’ll never work another day in your life.”
I always politely smiled and nodded my head when someone said that to me, generally because I never really understood what it meant.
Having a J-O-B was WORK. My parents WORKED their entire careers in jobs that were… well… WORK. You’re SUPPOSED to sweat and toil day in and day out to earn a wage that hopefully balances the commitment and effort you put in for 40… 60… 80 hours a week. You do that with the expectation that you’ll, in turn, be able to afford to teach your children the same value and work ethic you learned from your parents.
Matt embodies the spirit of the statement quoted above. He came to #CIB to further his knowledge of blogging and social media and he brought a piece of his art to “us” to get reactions, to get validation, to get support, to share inspiration. By the time he walked out, he’d left me and a number of the #CIB true wanting more.
So, shortly there after, I contacted Matt to ask him if he would honor me with his interpretation of my company’s logo in his style of “cut stone” (a process I’ll leave to HIM to tell you about). Calm and unassuming (as I said before), Matt said “Sure.”
As you see, the result was beautiful. I gave little direction and he produced the perfect icon for CreateWOW. Iconic. Exacting and effective.
Here’s the rub. When we finally came to an agreement on price, I paid (about 1/4 the value) and turning to leave, I asked, “Do you have a website or someplace I can send others to see your work?”
Matt said, “Nope. Never thought of it.”
See, Matt does what he loves to do for a living. He’s a Youth Pastor. He’s an inspiration. So it’s not a “marketing opportunity” to do a sign for TheBrandChef. It’s fun. It’s rewarding to him. It get’s the kids he mentors a chance to say “Coooooool!”
I asked Matt if writing a post about this unique experience would bother him and he granted me permission. He also granted me permission to post his phone number if any readers of this post would like to discuss having him work up a stone-cut masterpiece for you. I’ve already forwarded two leads to him in as many days. So give him a look. He doesn’t have a website (yet) but you can find him here (maybe even at the next #CIB):
Matt Morgan: 515-981-9860
With some encouragement (pleading) from our clients, we’ve gone ahead and put together some tips and tricks for organic search engine optimization using the WordPress plug-in called All in One SEO Pack. This is a general overview and just the beginning to the organic SEO process. Future videos will go into further detail on writing for SEO content and working with local search for optimization.
We will have more “How-To” video tips, trick and techniques for organic SEO, marketing, brand management and more in the future. If you’d like to see something specific, please feel free to comment below OR send us a message directly through our contact page!
I just finished Daniel Pink’s “A Whole New Mind” after about 2 months of trying to “get my read on” (it takes discipline… go figure). With the holidays and starting my own business (CreateWOW), I was having troubles committing the time I needed to sit down and focus on reading and figuratively feed the monster that Michael Wagner awoke 7 years ago with “Orbiting The Giant Hairball.”
ANYWAY… Pink’s book inspired me. Not simply because he says right brainers (the more empathetic, creative and “Big Picture”- type people) are destined to run the show; it proved to me the track I have been on for the last 20 years hasn’t been for not. Repeatedly, I was told to “get my head out of the clouds,” and “get a secure paying job that you can simply do day-in and day-out… never mind the love of what you do.” (yes, I had some pretty optimistic folks around me back then.) Yet, the right brain in me prevailed… And according to “A Whole New Mind” I didn’t have a choice.
I planned on doing a book review on it for the CreateWOWmarketing blog, but found this video post by Elaine Fogel that did it one better (she interviewed Pink, himself).
So here you are. A Whole New Mind in six minutes (took me 2 months…)
Thank you again to Daniel Pink, Elaine Fogel and Mike Wagner for keeping the monster fed and constantly encouraging others to create and make the world a better place for us to live and do business.
Be watching for a new program being developed by The Brand Chef and CreateWOW to further encourage reading and fostering creativity! (Yes, that’s how much these books did for me…
Keep Cooking! (or you’re going to starve)
Andrew B. Clark
The Brand Chef
For those that know me, you certainly realize I have a “slight” passion for music. It scores my life (and some of yours… ) . It is ALWAYS on in my house, my office, my car, my headphones (when discretion is required) and in my heart. So when I sat in my office this morning thinking of what to write, I (of course) had my iTunes randomly playing tunes out of the thousands of choices. It shuffled from Moby and Gwen Stefani to Stevie Wonder to Stevie Vai to Ella Fitzgerald and on to Curt Cobain and Nirvana. Then it hit me.
The song that brought the inspiration for this post was Nirvana’s “In Bloom” from the Live At Reading LP. Now, normally this song is a sure-to-be-cranked track in my play-list, but as this particular version rolled out of my speakers, I wondered how much longer before my wife could ACTUALLY see the blood dripping from my ears. It was horrible. Cobain’s vocals were slurred, muddy and dissonant. His guitar and Novoselic’s bass sounded like a couple college kids’ drunk foray into pornographic mud wrestling. And poor Dave Grohl couldn’t find a steady rhythmic path for any of them to stagger down.
Disappointing. So much so, I deleted the entire Live at Reading album from iTunes.
BUT… I kept every other Nirvana album (All 4 including MTV Unplugged) made “in the studio.” Would you like to guess why?
The “Studio Nirvana” is the brand I became a fan of way back in 1993. I became a fan of Kurt’s raucous, painful lyrics. I became a fan of the aggressive drive and colors they painted in my mind – all pleasantly presented to me after months of studio engineering.
But unbeknownst to me (and millions of other college radio fans), this was NOT the way Kurt, Dave and Krist intended Nirvana to be heard. As Cobain yelled from the stage during a 1991 concert in Seattle,
“Hello, we’re major label corporate rock sell outs.” (04/17/91 at the O.K. Hotel, Seattle, Washington)
Just for the record, I don’t think Kurt had “40+ year old me” in mind when he wrote his songs…
And so the Nirvana brand dichotomy was born. Studio sell-outs? Tortured alt-punk artists? That was up to the fans to decide, and we all know which won out.
Now, I could cite other vast discrepancies in brand marketing to “real-life” brands in the music industry **cough-Taylor Swift-cough** … but I think you get my point.
Too many brands (music industry or not) have “difficulties” holding up past the release of the studio-mastered album. Not for trying, of course, these “artists” dance and sing their souls out and ultimately wind up broken and disenchanted with their career, their art, their fans and the “brand” they’ve been trying to portray. So lies the issue.
Take a close look at your marketing collateral and website. Does it have your TRUE voice? Is it indicative of what potential fans will experience when they meet you IRL (in real life)? Remember, eventually you’re going to have to pick up that guitar or microphone and give those fans what they expect. Can you?
What other brands – music or not – have you encountered that couldn’t seem to hold up past their shiny “studio” exterior? What advice do YOU have for companies that work to be what they aren’t (or can’t be)?
I’d love to get the conversation boiling!
Andrew B. Clark
The Brand Chef
They were once a prospect…. then a lead… then a presentation opportunity… Then… well, you know the routine. But now that you’ve landed this whale (for lack of a better term), what happens? You’ve finally contracted with this client. Does the attention to this particular fish scale back (no pun intended). Is it all about the conquest? Is the honeymoon over?
Continued customer engagement is key to your business’ sustainability – the key to your success – and honestly should be the easiest part of your job. Or would you rather go out and make cold calls and play the dog-n-pony for new leads every day?
1. Realize your engagement starts on day one.
If it’s a cold call, if your business model involves lead generation, customer engagement begins with your handling of that lead. Set the tone of the entire relationship as soon as they pick up the phone.
2. Start at the beginning.
TRUE branding engagement gets the biggest return by starting with the Truth. You can’t define your customer’s unique positioning statement until you’ve dated for a while. So slow down and learn. And let THEM learn about (and from) you.
3. Make it easy to be your customer.
Does your business card have your cell phone number on it? If you don’t want to go that far, does it have a number on it where an actual HUMAN answers… maybe even you? Break the barriers you set up to ward off telemarketers and spammers. Your customers don’t want to feel like they’re not part of your culture.
4. All customers (new or old) are created equal.
Sure, a whale gets more attention than a guppy, but keep that fact in the ledger only. Support, lines of communication, and reaction need to be consistent across all levels. Think of it this way… Do you have a favorite child?
5. Personalize and customize.
In another lifetime, I was a kick-ass waiter for a national restaurant chain. I knew, by instinct, that if I knew the customer’s name, their drink preferences, even where they like to sit, that my engagement would improve their experience while at the restaurant (not my flair). Results? Return customers. MUCH better tips. More promotional opportunities.
6. Know the difference between New and “Well seasoned” customers.
New customers have different needs and expectations than those you’ve had for years (even months). Do your research to understand and respond to these differences.
Most people want to be heard. If they’re like a lot of our customers, they’ll make sure they’re heard… are you there to listen? They like being asked. The act of surveying your customers makes them understand you care. When you report the results of the survey back to them, that’s a double confirmation of your engagement.
8. Show a little appreciation.
If a customer has shown you loyalty, how do you reciprocate? It can be as simple as a Friday afternoon lunch on the company. Or it could be going beyond stipulated expectations – at no extra cost to them. “Can you see how much we appreciate you?” Isn’t always a bad question to ask (yourself).
9. Give ‘em a little buy-in option.
Build a customer panel or advisory board, and invite your customers to join. You’ll be surprised by how many want to participate, share, refer, and engage more as a result of their one-on-some participation. If you listen and act on what they have to say, that not only builds their loyalty, but also makes them more willing to reach out to prospects.
10. Use their network.
If a customer provides a referral, that’s like saying “These guys did good by me. You should use ‘em too.” And it’s a sure testimonial of an engaged customer to give a referral. Most customers feel better about the value of your brand when they refer you to people like themselves.
Simple customer engagement should be a daily routine – above lead generation, above self-promotion, and above working “On” the company. If you incorporate these 10 simple tips, you’ll see a great improvement in return engagement from your customers, thus making the rest of it seem easier.
Until next time…
Andrew B. Clark
The Brand Chef
This is a simple concept. Social media isn’t about me. If I have something to say that benefits others, I share it. Sure, I tweet about getting a parking ticket. I toot my horn when I get a good project. Heck, I even posted about my dog dying. It’s cathartic, supportive and reliable… That’s inevitable. But social media isn’t about ME.
Social media is about community. Social media brings an ever-changing world together in one voice. Sometimes it creates a lasting impression. Sometimes it leaves a bad taste. Like it or not, social media, at its core, is for the community (you).
Social media isn’t about ME!
When used with that phrase in mind, social media can make things happen. When focus is turned from the individual to the community it can create impact. Two of the biggest brands in the world joined together during The Tour De France this year to point that out.