John Newton, marketing professor at Emerson College in Boston, believes that the definition of public relations is “getting caught in the act of doing something good.” I’ve heard him repeat this mantra in class many times, and it’s an interesting perspective on a critical marketing tactic.
Social media is the perfect venue to catch brands in the act of doing good deeds on the behalf of consumers or the environment, and many brands have embraced the immediacy of social networks to reach consumers quickly and efficiently. I recently caught Bose in the act of doing something good on Twitter, and as a Bose customer I now have a new respect for their service tactics and involvement in social media.
Last week I was saddened to realize that my Bose ear bud headphones were broken: sound was only coming from one ear bud. A little bit of cord wiggle action would help, but they were pretty much useless. I went to Twitter to voice my sadness:
I decided I’d have to buy a cheap pair of headphones to hold me over until Christmas. Quality headphones come in handy when living with three roommates and battling the monotony of running on treadmills, but my wallet isn’t exactly in the position to fork over $100 for new Bose headphones.
Lucky for me, @boseservice noticed my tweet within an hour and offered their services. The resulting direct message conversation via Twitter lead me to filing a replacement order. Once I ship out my damaged pair, I will be receiving a brand new set of headphones for half the price, even though my warranty is long expired.
My experience with Bose was pain free and surprisingly easy. Instead of defecting from the Bose brand and buying a cheaper set of headphones, Bose offered me a deal to secure my loyalty to the brand and hopefully encourage me to tell people about my amazing customer service experience.
Many brands are on Twitter, Facebook and the like. But the level of conversational interaction with consumers varies with each brand. It’s not enough to just post company and product information to your followers or fan page members, there needs to be an initiative that seeks out consumer problems or recommendations and digs deeper to develop a one-on-one relationship with a particular customer. And this needs to be enacted on a daily basis as part of the company’s social media strategy as a whole.
Social media is a great tactic for brands to reach their consumers, and a little attention to detail can strengthen a brand’s image and reputation among brand loyalists. Bose’s high-end products come with high-end prices, but at least you’re getting what you pay for…and then some.