Building Brands Through Community

Brian Morrissey over at Ad Week wrote a great article on “Building Brand Through Community.”  In it he talks about how companies like Zappos, Yelp, and Etsy have built their brands through the power of their users instead of relying on massive advertising spends.  What makes the article so informative is that Morrissey talks as someone who understands New Media.  The reason is that Morrissey is a writer that really gets the new world of journalism.  For instance, he is extremely active on Twitter, bringing a transparent view to how goes about story writing.

Now back to the article, my favorite quote comes from Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com, who says:

We think our brand is going to be different because we want people to feel there’s a real person they’re connecting with, whether it’s when they call us or through Twitter or any way they come in contact with us

Frankly I wish more brands would think like this, my own brands at P&G included.  Connecting with your consumers shouldn’t be scary.  It shouldnt be something that just happens in focus groups or other pre-arranged “research”.  It needs to be every day in a world where you open your brand to your community of users.  You invite them into the process and let them know a real person is behind the brand.  Customer Service needs to be one of the top marketing strategies of a brand today.

And you know the best part?  Customer Service costs nothing to do it right.  All it takes is a Brand Manager (or Assistant Brand Manager if necessary) monitoring the brand on Twitter and on blogs.  And if done right, this small investment of time will pay amazing dividends for your brand down the road.   Imagine that, something that costs nearly nothing and can result in legions of loyal brand advocates.  Show me a TV or Print ad that can accomplish that.

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