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Sunday, April 17

Digital Ecosystem for your Brand? Now what's that!!!

Just came back from a 3 hour breakfast at Roots Cafe - great poha, chilla jasmine tea and early morning drizzle...And the sight of two cute kids wallowing in the small rain water puddle...Wish I was 4 again:-)

Penning down few thots in the head on digital eco-system...While consulting clients through my Social Media consultancy - Once Upon A Time, I very often try to explain the need for a digital/online/social media eco-system...

Of course they don't always understand the need for it, grown up as they are on a 'one-size-fits-all' mass media diet.

Here are few of the guidelines - some learnt by personal experience curating the content for Cinnamon Stays, my UnHotel brand and some from Guy Kawasaki's book Enchantment...

1. Is your brand/platform/POV worthy of an eco-system? Is your product, service, ideology boring/ bland - then try to fix it first!You cannot build an enduring community/ eco-system around stuff that people hardly care.

You can buy lots of online, SM ads and people may even like those so that you have a tidy fan base but that's all a mirage.

In the new world, spend the most time on having a worthy cause. Anna Hazare has one. He doesn't really need a SM plan, calendar!!

2. Create Meaning. Give consumers, readers something meaningful to do.

What does that mean - Take the very popular Vodafone ZooZoo campaign. Let's visit it's fb page. While they seem to have done a reasonably good job of a solid fan base and daily interactions! They have just about tapped the tip of the iceberg...

More can be done in terms of getting ideas from consumers who love zoozoos(crowd-sourcing). Ideas to improve customer service for eg.

We are heading towards Social media fatigue and the way to keep your fans and consumers engaged are not cute viral videos and contests only but a more meaningful exchange on a daily basis.

3. Welcome criticism. This one makes most clients go paranoid. How can we allow negative comments? Lets delete the dissatisfied consumers rant. Lets ignore him(he is anyways a statistical rounding off error!!) Or even lets punish him for publicly criticizing my brand!

Recently I spent close to 20 days getting a complaint resolved by a major telecom brand. I used SM to first complain and rant and later protest and berate the brand. Yet the over-all response from the brand was hopelessly unwelcoming!!!

I guess my lifetime worth for that brand is very high. No amount of mass media 'song-and-dance' interruptions will now ever change my stance. They just blew a big chance to engage and enchant a vocal consumer...The life-time damage of an ignored customer is very high in the new connected world.

So while many brands are very busy measuring the total count of positive and negative feedback on online platforms, they mustn't just be complacent by knowing the statistic on a nice power-point slide.

The strategy to deal with online criticism should be exactly the opposite.

Lets engage the dissatisfied lot(of course we can't do much about the non-genuine ones). Let's figure out smart ways to 'welcome criticism'. This requires a culture change at the company, not just sophisticated measurement tools!! That's what brand management 2.0 will largely be about - a culture of welcoming criticism(via Guy Kawasaki). What are you doing about it?

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