December 18, 2011
by Mike Knudsen
Today, people have uninhibited access to platforms, channels and tools to express themselves at will. That group’s voice, employed individually or collectively, can reach the masses to organize game-changing movements across the world. Yet, despite the universal potential for connectivity, businesses are still struggling to understand the real impact of connected consumerism.
On a basic level, consumers need to feel that they are being heard, that action is taken on their behalf. Gaining followers on Twitter or Likes on Facebook is one thing, but to connect and foster real relationships, organizations must learn how to listen and adapt to consumer engagement.
The reality is that society and technology evolve faster than a brand’s ability to adapt. The good news is you have a role in defining where things go next. It all begins with attracting the attention of connected consumers and delivering consistent value to ultimately earn their affinity.
Today’s biggest trends — the mobile web, social media, gamification, real-time — are changing the landscape for business, government, media and consumerism. However, as consumers become better at personalizing their online experiences, they re-evaluate the people, organizations and information with whom they choose to connect. Therefore, the keys to long-term engagement and relationships are intelligence, empathy and resilience.
Although this is the end of business as usual, it’s also the beginning of a new era of visibility. Businesses now have the opportunity to become relevant in new channels and networks by forming meaningful alliances. To do that takes far more than gimmicks, contests and clever videos. It takes consistent value that the user can appreciate over time.
Connected consumers discover and communicate differently than their traditional consumer counterparts. To connect with them, companies must identify potential challenges, trends, POVs and interests. To adapt, organizations need to examine the impact of technology on consumer behavior, and to understand its effect on consumer decision-making and peer influence.
To attract consumers and earn their loyalty, businesses must follow the “Laws of Attraction and Affinity.”
1. Identify where connected consumer attention is focused.
2. Define a higher purpose — genuine intentions that will attract connected consumers and give them something to align with.
3. Establish an identity and a presence worthy of affiliation. Give people something to believe in — something exciting to be a part of.
4. Design your engagement strategies to be beneficial and shareable — this is, after all, about shared experiences.
5. Localize the value, content, storefront and engagement program to match the culture and activity within each direct-to-consumer (D2C) community.
6. This isn’t a power play; stay consistent and dedicated through meaningful interaction.
7. Remain true to the original mission and intention. Do not be swayed by short-term temptations.
8. Recognize and reward community participants — reciprocity is a strong pillar of community relationships.
9. The adaptive business will listen, learn and change based on the needs of the connected consumer. That way, a brand will consistently stay relevant and valuable.
Article Source: http://mashable.com/2011/11/16/connected-consumer-affinity/