Wednesday, October 01, 2008


Here's something I wrote for the company blog.
Again, the normal swashbuckling randomness has been streamlined a bit.
Re: 'weiji' - i've always known that to describe a person from Scotland's second city (after Aberdeen), but there you go...

"Beat the downturn with Digital.

Apparently, the Chinese have a ‘word ‘ (it’s two symbols, actually) for crisis.
‘weiji’ translated means “danger and opportunity’.
It’s not true actually but let’s not let minor quibbles get in the way of a good opening line.

As we enter deeper into tough financial times companies instinctive reaction is to pull back from experimentation and innovation and shore up on the tried and tested.
Playing it safe until we ride out the storm.

That seems a bit too risky to me.
Why? Because that’s what all the competition will be doing too.
And you will still be in there amongst the clutter and noise.

Maybe not all though? Perhaps some of the competition are embracing the ‘weiji’.

Now , more than ever, is the time to be looking at fully engaging in a meaningful dialogue and relationship with your customers (and employees).
And there’s ways to do this with digital.

Use Existing Platforms
Video platforms such as You Tube, photo hosting on Flickr and various blogging software platforms are all there waiting for your content.
The sharing nature of these platforms means that – if your content is engaging and compelling enough – the audience will spread it for you.

Join the conversation
Your customers and employees are worried about how the economic downturn is going to affect them.
And they are already talking about it, online, amongst themselves.
Writing your own blog, and contributing to others is a way to establish and maintain open channel of communication between you and your customers .
Be authentic, transparent - and most importantly, human - and you’ll reap the benefits long after this recession has gone.
A simple Google Alert can keep you in the loop as to where your company is being spoken about online, and you can be ready to respond.

Try different stuff
Jumping from campaign to campaign, promotion to promotion is time consuming and costly for you; and confusing for the customer. OK, there are spikes around TV or banner campaigns but what happens in between?
It all goes dark.
Is a 0.1% click through really worth the bother?

Brand ‘awareness’ is no longer a valid or useful measurement.
Branding happens through the actual behaviors of your business, and how you involve people in that experience.

Look at ways to make the experience ubiquitous - spread across as many touch points as possible.
Think about where your audience is and go and meet them there.
With something interesting, useful and engaging, of course. Not just ads.
Now, more than ever they are tuning out from advertising messages.

The nature of the web allows you to solicit feedback from your audience and keep tickling, squeezing and tweaking your content to keep it relevant.

Think about utility

Instead of interrupting people while they are trying to do something else, as most advertising does, think about to be useful in people’s lives. What are the tools or activities your brand can facilitate that can make a difference in your customers lives?

What do we mean when we say ‘customer service’?

Serve your customers. Be there with a human voice when they need you.
Neilsen and Edelman research suggests that upwards of 70% of people trust recommendations from their peers far above advertising, when considering products or services.
Think about your top 20% of your customers. What kind of ways can you serve them that will encourage them to promote your products and services to their friends, colleagues and family?

Look to the web for insights.

Social Networks can be rich vein of insight for what your customers are actually saying and thinking, right now. Watch, listen and act.

Embrace the ‘weiji’ - the opportunity. Take this chance to make a meaningful connection with your customers.

It could be the start of a life-long romance.

Eaon Pritchard, Head of Digital.

Customer service?
Call me anytime: 079 7901 6084
Or drop me a line: epritchard AT"

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