Why Are You So Afraid Of Conversation?

A quick thought.

I’m currently working my way through Joseph Jaffe‘s book ‘Join The Conversation.’ I’ve just finished Chapter 10, “Why are you so afraid of conversation?” which was written entirely by members of the online community via a wiki.

The chapter contains an insight from Mitch Joel that illustrates why I think he’s one of the smartest guys I know, and why you should subscribe to both his blog and his podcast:

Marketers spend their days worrying about losing control of their brand. They should be much more focused on the fact that they never had control of their brand. They were simply able to scream louder than the individual.

I see so much truth in this statement, it’s unreal. Marketers and communicators need to understand that new media tools let consumers scream loudly too.

What’s more, loss of control is a myth. You won’t lose control if you engage online. You will, however, gain the ability to respond to online criticism – something Ford used very effectively recently.

To over-simplify slightly, you have a choice: choose silence and let people discuss you without your input, or engage people in that discussion.

What do you choose?

  • I’m glad you picked up on that thought Dave (and thanks for the compliment).

    I hate all of those “the consumer is in control” discussions. I really don’t believe that statement at all. I simply feel that Brands can now *really* hear them… mostly because others are listening 😉

  • There’s a lot to be said about acknowledging customers. A lot of marketers these days think the vast internet resources and marketing tools we have will do all their communicating for them. Meanwhile, other marketers are engaging their customers and hearing their comments. Comments and responses on products from consumers are everywhere – literally, everywhere. Word of mouth and reading what other consumers say is still the most real feedback people use when designing new ad campaigns and consumers use when making purchasing decisions. Companies need to show they’re out there and that they’re listening.

    http://www.massmailsoftware.com/blog/ had some posts relating to this kind of involvement, too.