Rogers (Center on Global Brand Leadership/Columbia Business School; co-editor, Handbook on Brand and Experience Management, 2009, etc.) presents a guide to how businesses and other organizations can use emerging digital technologies to reach customers.
Customers are changing, writes the author. They were once isolated and passive, relying on a one-way flow of information from the mass media. Now they interact and share on the Internet (Facebook, YouTube, etc.), where their videos, review, and campaigns can reach millions and have profound impacts, both positive and negative, on companies. Rogers focuses not so much on the digital technologies as on the behaviors of connected customers, what they value and what they will pay for. Based on interviews with executives at companies that are applying innovative thinking to customer networks, the author identifies five key network behaviors of today’s customers: the desire to access (everything and now), engage (content relevant to their needs), customize (choose from an array of information, products and services), connect (share ideas and opinions) and collaborate (on collective projects). The examples clearly show the possible benefits of network strategies. Dell used its “Idea Storm” website to attract 10,000 new product ideas from customers; Kraft Foods created an iPhone application featuring thousands of recipes made with Kraft products and charged customers for the app (selling more than 1 million copies); author Stephenie Meyer built an early cult following for her vampire novels by reaching out to fans in online communities; and Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign gave millions of supporters online tools to raise funds, register voters and organize for caucuses. Such strategies, writes the author, can be used to achieve diverse business objectives, including product differentiation, speed to market, effective sales channels, reduced costs for customer service, customer loyalty and word of mouth, brand awareness among hard-to-reach target segments, customer insight, expanded innovation resources and improved knowledge management.
Level-headed advice for companies contemplating a leap into the digital arena.