Mouth-to-mouth recommendations have always been a strong medium of influence. But being placed online opens a new dimension to their influence: always available, easy to find, can be commented on, single opinions result in powerful and long-lasting discussions without knowing the outcome.
Businesses and brands are no longer the ones that spread out the message. Consumers do the brand building for the brand. Brand managers have to adopt and change their communication strategy: from shouting to listening, from persuading to convincing, from being bold to being subtle, from purely delivering a message to the consumer to also delivering a consumer feedback to internal departments, from throwing products to the market that nobody needs to products that deliver real customer value.
Why need to change? Because…
- Consumers talk to consumers about a brand but not to the brand
- Consumers trust the opinions of other consumers, even though they don’t know them
- Consumer experiences influence purchase decisions
- People like to express themselves
- The tools to easily do that exist and are available to basically anybody
From consumer voices to consumer insights
It is one thing to be aware of the strength of consumer opinions but the real challenge and value is to learn from it and to transport the consumer’s feedback back into your company to improve processes, service and products. It won’t transform your company from a product-driven company to a customer-centric business if nothing else changes. But it’s a great beginning to let various departments in your company get totally new insights and different perspectives and make key people feel the power of consumer opinions.
Businesses that understand this concept and implement it into the corporate culture can truly benefit in the long term because they satisfy the client, deliver true value for the money and are talked about positively.
3digitalminds is experienced in implementing consumer-focused online concepts
This is not only theory, but based on experiences which we made with clients. We implemented these concepts in companies and as a result, clients increased their awareness in the target group, they are now neck-to-neck to competitors which they never believed they could be within one year and they use the consumer voice to improve their products and influence the corporate culture. This is truly a new experience for managers because they get to know details and opinions they have never heard or seen before about their own company and products.
And it’s based on the pure need of human beings for communication, affirmation, support and connections.
- Consumers ask for help during their decision making process
- They like to share experiences and look for confirmation in their peer group
- They look for advice
- Consumers participate in blogs, forums, product review sites, social networks and connect
Experiences backed by statistics
And to make these claims more objective, here is a recent research from Nielsen about the power of consumer opinions and their influence.
Chart: Have some degree of trust* in the following forms of advertising in April 2009
Source: Nielsen Global Online Consumer Survey April 2009 / Base: All Respondents; *E.g. 90 percent of respondents trusted “completely” or “somewhat” recommendations from people they know