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13 June 2010

Scaling up with social media: luxury brands have a natural advantage.

Jeremiah Owyang recently did a presentation on how companies can scale up with social media technologies.  Do read it.  His starting observation is that customers (let alone prospects) will always outnumber a company's total workforce (let alone the ones formally responsible for customer relationships).  Since social media puts companies in "direct" contact with a growing number of people, they are in danger of counter-productive social media initiatives leaving most customers or prospects frustrated for lack of response from the company to their queries/issues/concerns.

Jeremiah suggest 3 good strategic solutions to this problem:
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  • Using all the voices in your ecosystem (the Rings of Influence) not just being the only ones to talk.
  • Develop more customer to customer technologies that leverage your customers to do your marketing, sales, and support.
  • Invest in Social CRM systems, while immature now, they will eventually help companies respond in real time –and maybe even anticipate customer need.
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 Reading this, I realised it was confirming my position that luxury goods and services companies are the best suited for an effective social media strategy: their ratio "number of customers/number of employees" is by nature the lowest!  So, they can realistically connect with a large number of customers by involving all their employees for instance.  Luxury brands can be more in control of what is being said about them in the socialsphere than FMCG brands. 

02 June 2010

A hint that Burberry is on the right track about social media integration

 In my last post, I wrote that I didn't know of a retailer that is yet offering a fully integrated multi-channels experience.  I have however just discovered that Burberry's own social media site www.artofthetrench.com might indicate that they are on the right track towards this full integration.  The site allows a Facebook account connection (in fact imposes it) before uploading your own trench coat pictures.  This of course does not mean that Burberry will implement this type of integration on its ecommerce site but it's a start.

PS. I am not suggesting that a Facebook account should necessarily give you access to all ecommerce sites! Social media is not just about Facebook for a start, and a social media strategy should not be application dependent anyway.  If the technology might still need to be defined, the goal is clear however: offering an integrated and consistent multi-channels customer experience and follow each customer as a unique individual through all channels.

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