Photo credit: Thad Zajdowicz
In late September, Business Week published a story titled, “The Great Trust Offensive.” In the story, David Kiley and Bert Helm describe the new reality for business — that companies finally realize that they can’t generate trust through the PR department anymore. Large companies like American Express and McDonald’s understand that the days of consumers acting as the passive targets of advertising are over. People now use the Web to research purchases and read customer reviews about products and services before they buy. The Web and Web-enabled phones give companies a cheap way to reach consumers and adjust the message reaching consumers. To reach consumers in this new era, these brands are using new “trust-focused” advertising themes.
The problem with this new approach described in the article is that it doesn’t engage with consumers — it just shifts the stream of advertising to a “you can trust us” theme. Perhaps that helps connect with consumers because consumers might be less likely to tune out (or Tivo out) the message, but it still misses the point of the new age of permissive marketing. That point is that consumers are looking for less advertising and more two-way engagement with brands. They are less interested in slick commercials from United than they are in listening to Dave Carroll‘s video titled, “United Breaks Guitars.” Successful brands like Amazon.com, Cabella’s, and WalMart encourage customers to leave public product feedback, even when that feedback might dampen demand for unpopular products.
If you run a small business, you’ve probably already realized that you can’t spend your way to a trusting relationship with your customers. You have to earn that trust in every transaction. However, the permissive, powerful marketing channels provided by the Web give you the opportunity to leverage that earned trust in the form of product and business reviews, available for consumer researchers on the Web. The Web has leveled the playing field with the big brands, giving small businesses the ability to use online evidence of consumer trust to chip away at the big brands’ market share. If you have a small business, let IX Brand SEO Services Company, show you how to leverage your good customer relationships to grow your business using the Web.
- Should I be asking customers to review my small business? (marketing.yell.com)
- ‘United Breaks Guitars’ hero helps other consumers gripe (redtape.msnbc.msn.com)
- Online business reviews – tips for getting started (marketing.yell.com)
- Realized opportunity, value of real customer conversations (undimed.wordpress.com)