Business Strategy

3 companies responding well to customer empowerment

3 companies responding well to customer empowerment

New times demand new strategies.

Thanks to the widespread adoption of social, mobile, cloud and other technologies, your customers have more power today. More choices and information are available to them, and they can easily say what’s on their mind.

In his latest post for CMO.com, Vision Critical CMO Tyler Douglas encourages his fellow CMOs to reevaluate their marketing approach in the age of the empowered customer. Providing tips for tapping into the power of the customer, Tyler shares specific examples of how companies are responding to the customer revolution.

Here are three examples mentioned in Tyler’s article:

1. Mountain Dew learns from customers.

Companies need to be teachable. Customers are no longer students in the company-customer relationship. Tyler uses the example of Mountain Dew as a company that delivers products and services based on customer feedback:

By turning to its customers to help Mountain Dew create the ‰”Voltage‰” flavor, PepsiCo embraced the potential of the empowered customer. And it paid off. PepsiCo‰’s chief consumer engagement officer has gone on record calling the project one of the most successful product launches in PepsiCo beverage history.

Mountain Dew listens to customers

2. Buffer opens up about the good and the bad.

Information is abundant in the age of the empowered customer. That‰’s why hiding the truth from customers often backfire. Whether dealing with a crisis or crafting strategies, marketers today ‰”need to be honest and act with transparency,‰” according to Tyler. Buffer, a social media monitoring company, provides a good example when it suffered a security breach last year:

Avoiding the blame game, Buffer owned up to the problem and communicated frequently and openly with customers through social media and its blog. Transparency helped assuage people’s concerns, letting Buffer take control of what could have spiraled into a bigger issue.

Ultimately, transparency builds trust between companies and their customers. It also facilitates open collaboration, leveraging the power of the hive mind to solve problems, improve processes, and build better products. To succeed in today’s era of the empowered customer, successful companies will be generous with information and open about both successes and failures. Openness encourages a culture of collaboration built on trust.

3. Coca-Cola trusts its community.

The beauty of customer empowerment is that people will willingly share content that resonates with them. The Happiness Machine, a Coca-Cola marketing effort that became successful in huge part because of its customers, is a great example of how what can happen when companies trust their own customers and fans:

With a hidden camera trained on a heavily trafficked thoroughfare on a college campus, the company installed a normal-looking Coke machine that dispensed not only a single bottle of coke, but many cokes, plus pizza, flowers, a balloon animal, and a submarine sandwich. The key turning point in the commercial is the moment when a girl at the Coke machine finds she can no longer hold all of the Cokes being dispensed and starts handing them out to strangers‰ – a scene that evokes a strong sense of community.

That community aspiration‰ – the relationship between the customer and the company and the customer and her neighbors‰ – is what made the commercial emotionally resonant. Coke spent nothing on promoting the ad. It put up one post on its Facebook page and tweeted one tweet via Twitter. Coke trusted in its customers to make it go viral. The ad went on to win industry awards and has been viewed more 6 six million times on YouTube, not counting the various spinoff ads Coke produced around the world from the related Happiness Truck project.

As you can see from these examples, the customer revolution is an opportunity for companies to partner with their customers today.

To read Tyler‰’s post, please go to CMO.com. And for more examples of companies doing a great job of engaging their customers, download our free white paper, Six Commandments for Surviving the Customer Revolution.

the secret to surviving the customer revolution



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