Adweek Europe. Not much else was talked of in my (admittedly fairly narrow) professional circle last week. The consensus was that the organisers excelled themselves in creating a true festival of advertising and media.
The idea of an economy of wishes was introduced by PWC as way of describing a shift in the old asymmetry of economic power.
In the old days brands and manufacturers held the cards and gave out information at their own pace. Now, as I described in my book Tell The Truth, consumers can see all the cards and find out whatever they wish to via their tablets and smart phones about a brand. Relative prices, satisfaction reviews, sourcing, crm policies and indeed even the pay ratios of the CEO to the average, all in a few moments.
Our debate was around how best to manage a retail brand in this environment and the consensus was around disclosure, authenticity and treating the customer as if they matter. Nish Kukadia CEO, Secretsales.com explained that customer satisfaction scores rocketed when they clearly explained the shipping process for product and defined expectations accurately around speed of delivery.
I cited the latest Edelman Trust Barometer which once again shows the growing trend that consumers trust the opinions of employees, people like them, more than CEOs or paid experts, which means that businesses that empower their staff reap rewards as every encounter with customers is a positive brand building opportunity.
It has to be authentic of course. Meeting Dick Costolo, CEO of Twitter, later last week, we agreed that consumers can sniff out the slightest hint of inauthentic communications. In one to one encounters in a shop, in customer service calls and via Twitter. There’s a divide coming between brands we can believe in because they’re true to themselves and have trusted representatives who believe in the brand, and those where the employees are either disillusioned or, worse, sound like they’ve drunk too much of the Kool-Aid and are just spouting the company line. Come to think of it I could name media owner brands and sales teams that represent either side of that divide too. Can you?
In the economy of wishes if we imagine something we can make it happen. How do we choose where to spend our time and money, personally or professionally? We will choose where we trust in the brands and the people that represent them.