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Back to basics

Ian Ketecheson nails it in a recent post: “Putting the ‘are’ in social media”.

Media is the plural of medium. There is no is in media. The media(ums) – blogging, podcasting, tagging, wiki’s, flickr, digg, Second Life, etc. – enable the social aspects of the web: conversations, collaboration, and collective knowledge sharing.

Simple, to the point, and bang on. Good to remember as we navigate the waters!

[photo credit: ken mccown on Flickr]

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Who do you “trust”?

Collin at RadicalTrust.ca has a good post up about, well, radically trusting your customers. I have another post noodling around in my head regarding community, anonymity, behaviour, etc. but in the meantime, I really am stuck on the “trust” factor as Collin describes it. Granted, I get his point that – Consumers have no reason to trust you – and I for the most part agree. But the conclusion from that – When you open the relationship by trusting your consumer, you may actually earn their trust in return. – opens a slew of questions for me about what consumers/ people actually want from a business. Do they want to trust them as individuals, or in the aggregate? I trust American Airlines that their planes will stay in the air. I trust they have hired qualified mechanics and that the gov’t has systems in place for quality assurance. Do I trust them not to raise airfares, lose my bags, or cut back on flight routes? Not really. And only one of those do I believe is directly within their power to control (the bags). The rest are the results of the competitive business landscape they operate in.

So that leads me to my boat-load of questions…

Would you trust a company? Can you? Do you need to? What is the/your definition of trust? Is it the same way you trust your spouse or parent? Your boss? Your friends? Can you trust an organization, or just the individual people within it?

Can you trust it to always live up to your values? Does it have to? Can a company be all things to all people, as what may make me trust a company may not be what makes you trust them. Where’s your dividing line?

Do you still do business with a company who has broken your trust before? Is there a degree in the trust level?

Who decides and how?

[photo credit: thorinside on Flickr]

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Hot news on an icy day in T-dot

The time has come to talk my friend… of new beginnings and conversations ’round the bend…

Today felt like a good day for a bit of a riff. ;)

Enough preamble, what is my hot news?!

It is official. I have joined forces with Thornley Fallis / 76Design to bridge the boundries between PR, Interactive, and social media. To innovate. integrate. ingnite. so to speak :)

I’ll be working alongside the estimable Michael O’Connor Clarke and plan on rockin’ the city in between pints, rants, meetings, and brainstorming. It will be good times I tell you!

On a completely serious note, I have, and continue to be, extremely impressed by everyone at Thornley Fallis and 76Design, and have seen Joe & Terry walk the walk in the social media space consistently. It’s the right time with the right people. I look forward to showing up at the offices Monday in Toronto & meeting everyone in Ottawa on Tuesday!

This alliance will add depth to Wildfire’s service offering for current clients with the additional resources & capabilities of the T-F/ 76 team as necessary. In other circumstances Wildfire will operate independently with current clients. It’s flexible and quite exciting!

Looking forward to seeing everybody!
Cheers,
Tamera

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Giving the consumer a seat at the table

During brand planning one of the first things you do is develop, and/or analyze the SWOT. You look at the company’s strengths, its weakness, opportunities, and threats. It is all encompassing in the business landscape and the consumer landscape as it relates to the brand.

What is missing however, is the consumer landscape of opinions as it relates to your brand and your competition. The consumer‚Äôs perception: the good, bad, and ugly. It’s getting easier to capture this information due to not only the traditional channels of satisfaction surveys, letters to the company, calls to customer service, etc. but also the web. From message boards and blogs to photo-sharing, video, and consumer reviews, the information is available.

Without accurately addressing what people are actually thinking you may miss a key insight. Adding in customer perceptions adds a depth to understanding what your true SWOT is. Call it a p-SWOT for simplicity.

p-SWOT | Wildfire Strategic Marketing
The customer helps inform them all. Without understanding the perceptions in the marketplace it is difficult to accurately make assumptions about your core business, the type of targeting desired for a campaign, where your evangelists are and what they are saying, the gamut. You may miss an opportunity that you identified as a weakness because you’ve misdiagnosed the customer perception.

An easy example of this is a wireless carrier. They are launching a new product and see an opportunity in their exclusive deal with a phone manufacturer, which of course goes in the SWOT. The campaign planning moves forward and its decided they’ll focus on driving people to their website to purchase. Sounds good so far. Except what wasn’t taken into consideration is the majority of customer service calls relate to being unable to complete a purchase online. That information is logged and perhaps looked at by someone above the CSR Director infrequently. So customers either give up and go to a competitor, or, they call / email your customer service and impact your cost centre even further. However, doing a little digging further online, you find on a few forums that it is a problem for Firefox and Safari users and people are upset. Had you known that upfront you would have identified your website compatibility as a weakness and a threat and your launch as an opportunity to potentially reach out to dissatisfied customers. I imagine it would be a more fruitful one as well.

Using the p-SWOT can become a powerful way to continue to reinforce the need for customer collaboration and communication. It can help you be pro-active and innovative vs. reactive and outdated. It puts the customer in the seat next to you helping you navigate. I certainly am trying to put it into practice :)

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