What Businesses Have to do to Listen….

September 30, 2009

Are You Listening…? Just Checking.

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The days of one-way communication contained a problem. That problem was the inability to listen. Now consumers have gained a new niche in the online community to be heard; A consumer revolution if you want to look at it that way. Corporations are beginning to see that utilizing social media is cost efficient, brings together employees as a collective, improves brand awareness for product innovation and fosters customer service and satisfaction by creating conversation online.  Yes, the whole idea is to reach out to customers but lets not forget the fact that it fuels greater employee bonding by allowing communication to flow better. According to Social Corp: Social Media Goes Corporate by Joel Postman, companies like Intel use social media to share common skills and expertise allowing for interaction on a professional and personal basis. They even utilize executive blogs read by 50-70% of the employees and most notably, the CEO responds personally to comments on his blog. More on CEO Blogs later.

Moir Azhar of New Straights Time Press, discusses the effects of social media and why connecting and communicating is important in an article, Igniting Brand Passion.  Azhar interviews Pang Yee Beng, Managing Director for Dell in Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore and he notes that listening is key and customer insight will help you come to a resolution to your marketing plans. It goes to show when Pang says that Dell is mentioned 5,000 times a day, that Dell is doing well catering to customers in the social media world after going  through a reputation slap in the face. The idea is to force marketers to be more cost efficient with plans and budgets. Dell in Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore are touching bases with where people reside online by using what Pang calls ‘accessible and powerful online tools,’ which include twitter and Facebook.

Three Companies That Started Down the Trust Path with Customers First, by Valeria Maltoni, illustrates some great blogs that listen. I’d like to highlight one in particular: Kodak.

According to the blog, The Viral Garden by Mack Collier, Kodak has a great philosophy going with the way they are applying social media. In essence, they listen, they comply, and they even fail here and there, but all this is considered social media energy that helps them excel as a business while fostering value among customers who reside online. It is called Kodak Convergence Media Ripcurl. Take a look:

Kodak Media Convergence Ripcurl

Most notably, Kodak doesn’t stress the social mediums used due to the fact that it is about the customers, unlike what Pang said above about jumping on available tools. This is what happens when Kodak listens in tactical terms:

Kodak Convergence Media Ripcurl: Tactical Approach

Not to get off topic. Listening is key. And I highlight Kodak’s successful use of listening as an example of how a small part corporate blogging should work. Kodak even has a blog that is very popular in the blogosphere called A Thousand Words. The blog itself is not about Kodak cameras as it is so much about how cameras are used in people’s lives. A celebration of people and pictures! You feel very at ease with the quality Kodak brings.

Stay tuned for my next blog on, “Who is Corporate Blogging?”

Have I lost you? I bet you stopped listening.


7 Responses to “What Businesses Have to do to Listen….”

  1. Lauren Babbage said

    While reading this, it really surprised me that Dell is mentioned only 5,000 times a day! This is an extremely high number but I feel as though it would be mentioned more due to the fact that it is a high-profile company and a lot of people are buying their products. I do love the way Kodak put their use of social media into a “picture”. It really helps the audience (and visual people such as myself!) understand their angle and how they are trying to get people to listen.

    • Angeline Vo said

      Even small companies struggle to be heard. If you’re not high profile or not talked about of course you wouldn’t be heard. Kodak works so well because it utilizes a medium that they say has preserved memories but can also ruin the reality of the moment by taking away from experienced by creating a story that goes with it.

  2. Angeline thanks for the link! I agree, Kodak has a great philosophy and strategy for using social media to be….social! Hope more companies learn from their good example!

    • Angeline Vo said

      Thanks Mack!

      This is a class blog project we’re doing, blogging on social media and your stuff helped me a great deal on what to write about. Glad you saw it.

  3. Michelle Goydan said

    I think the Virtual Garden is a great practice. Implementing such a process not only allows you to get started but also lets you know what comes next when something goes wrong. Crisis planning is something companies often don’t have in place which penalizes them when they hit the spot light for something negative and everyone what answers. Having these steps in place make it easier to stay on task then just wildly trying to attack a problem. Kudos to Kodak!

    • Angeline Vo said

      I agree with the fact that the process allows you to know what’s coming next when something goes wrong. I don’t think companies wildly attack problems, I think the lack of communication creates dysfunction. For example, we love to note Dell. Dell didn’t respond to anyone when people went negative comments crazy. It became a crisis because they didn’t listen.

  4. […] What: Social Media Purgatory 2) What Businesses Have to do to Listen… 3) Who is Corporate Blogging? 4) Who is Protecting Who from What? 5) Where do Blogs fit into the […]

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