Those who have worked in marketing and communications for awhile know that it wasn’t that long ago that companies owned their messages. They would craft and place them to serve their purposes—talking at the consumer as part of their business paradigm.
Today the message is owned by the consumer, who has access to more information than ever—and who can share his or her ideas freely (whether they’re true or not). This increases risk and opportunity, as is often the case.
- Failing to use the new methods of communication will diminish your reach and push you to the sidelines
- Consumers can say anything they want about you
- As chief marketer and communicator, you now have many more venues to monitor—and probably no more staff or budget
- Consumers want conversation with a brand, so there’s a higher level of engagement with relevant messages
- The consumer voice carries more credibility, so when they share a positive experience, it has more weight than a company-released message
- Unleashing and empowering the experts within your company allows you to spread the communication function—so it’s not just your role. This can take advantage of organizational wisdom and expertise that can be valuable to the consumer.
This shift calls marketing and communication professionals to be more deeply involved in not only messaging, but in shaping the organization and creating services and products that inherently engage consumers. It also makes the chief communicator the chief listener—and an internal leader of the many voices within the organization.
We'd like to hear from you. What companies do you know that are engaging in meaningful dialogue with their consumers?