Yesterday I was giving a presentation at a client event. We were discussing a corporate blogging program we’d launched for them earlier this year, and some of the resulting benefits. Of course they were legion – a clearly growing fan base, amazing feedback from consumers, a couple of significant positive interactions with super-influencers, a smattering of business intelligence, wildly increased Google juice, and significant differentiation from the competition.
While discussing this last point with the firms “Chief Blogger”, he described an event I knew well about, but in a way that made me think about it very differently. One of his posts had prompted the competition to respond on a forum populated by their consumers (who are sometimes our consumers as well – it’s a very active community). The competition posted their rebuttal, not naming names, and then closed it to comments. The reaction was immediate and fierce, with consumers noting the dramatic difference between the competition and our clients’ attitude towards their consumer base. To them, the competition was clearly afraid of the conversation (contemptuous of it, even). It was not positive coverage.
And that’s when it hit me – this is a classic example of how participating in this space can dramatically change the rules of engagement within your market. If you leap in, consumers will very soon expect the same level of dialogue from your competitors. When they don’t deliver, you have a significant point of differentiation in a very emotional place. It’s not about the latest model, colour or styling, it’s about which company cares about their consumers the most. If you can build your reputation on that, what a tremendous competitive advantage.