Autospeak-Straight Talk contains articles covering digital and social media marketing social communities and events marketing

Focus on the Heart and Not Just The Wallet

(Posted on Feb 9, 2014 at 01:24PM )
Picture "Would you do a little research to save tens of thousands of dollars on your marketing budget? Then take the time today to read this and research these relevant articles below and other relevant articles and you will discover the tremendous benefits and cost saving that an Onsite Social Community can provide."

Social communities provide customers a central place in which to directly communicate with a business and gain valuable information about all of the businesses services and offerings. Social communities also provide an ongoing opportunity for the business to gain knowledge about the customer as an individual by listening to and addressing their constantly changing individual wants and needs.

Social Communities also provide an open forum in which customers can ask questions relevant to them and share their feelings with others on why they like doing business with your company. What better way to get to know a customer than genuinely listening to their wants and needs and providing the solutions and answers that concern “them” from one central place-your website.

As well as enjoying the rewards of being a customer of a business through special member discounts and drawings they get to know you as a business and you get to know them as a customer.

The process of buying a product is fleeting in terms of the length of time it takes. After the sale your relationship can last for years when it comes to servicing, communicating and establishing a positive relationship with that customer.

Don’t get drawn in by all the bell and whistle costly offerings that will never match the effectiveness and economy that having an onsite social community will provide.

The cost effectiveness of having that customer on your site as a community member is immeasurable when comparing it to the cost of campaigns to reach them. (See Know These Must Have Social Media Marketing Tools)  Your communication also becomes welcomed and not intrusive to them.

Also, by having one central landing page for community members to provide helpful information from service to sales and relevant topics with the ability to ask questions that they have that concern them will turn your customers into brand ambassadors to provide invaluable marketing opportunities for you to increase you customer base.

Online social communities can also be combined with online events marketing to provide powerful and effective marketing campaigns that will stand out and which cannot be accomplished otherwise.

Analytics have provided more and more insight into online users behaviors and have started to provide more insight into target marketing to the individual. 

The rapid advancement in technology as a whole promises to bring new and better ways to measure and market online much more efficiently. I for one am excited that as we move forward businesses will start embracing the advantages that current technology already offers.

Two of these advantages are that more businesses see the advantage of onsite communities to integrate current customers and employees into the company culture to better leverage these existing resources and integrating on and offline marketing into one cohesive marketing plan.

Would you do a little research to save tens of thousands of dollars on your marketing budget? Then take the time today to research these relevant articles below and other relevant articles and you will discover the tremendous benefits and cost saving that an Onsite Social Community can provide.

William Cosgrove    

Relevant Articles:

Activating your employees in social

What is “Social Influence Marketing” to You?

Are you Ignoring Your Best Brand Advocates?

Social Communities Can Redefine the Customer Experience

What is Social Casting?

Ted Stout on the Power of Social Casting

(Posted on Feb 8, 2014 at 02:33PM )
Ted Stout on OneBigBroadcast’s award winning coverage of the 2013 Young Olympians has brought us a host of new clients for 2014 to continue our success through our integrated marketing platforms onsite social communities and real time events marketing.


Simple is as Simple Does

(Posted on Feb 7, 2014 at 01:16PM )
The following article by Lisa Barone exemplifies Forrest Gump's famous saying “Simple is as simple does”and in this sense is how you must construct your web pages to make them easy to navigate and your calls to action and vital information visible. Inundating people with all kinds of bells and whistles only distracts and confuses them.

Utility is the name of the game if you want to keep moving your customer through the funnel.  Keep a constant eye on how your pages are working to make adjustments and remember this is all a constant work in progress

William Cosgrove

6 Usability Mistakes That Kill Conversions


A maze

It's happened to you before.

You arrived on a website confident in your mission. You needed to buy a vacuum cleaner! But once you got to or or wherever you planned to make your purchase, you become enraged.

  • What category are vacuums in? Home? Electronics? Tools?
  • How do you get through the site?
  • Where do you click to see reviews?
  • Are there color options?
  • Is that a link in the corner?
  • What if you want to search by price?
  • Or by brand?

Bad usability kills otherwise pleasant website experiences and makes customers angry. Angry customers don't buy things.

User experience design is about creating the right path for your users and removing unnecessary roadblocks. Below are six common usability roadblocks killing your customers' experience and your bottom line.

1. You Aren't Keeping it Simple

The secret to creating a great user experience is to keep it simple. Don't put the navigation on the right side, if your audience expects it to be on the left. Don't make links green, when they should be blue. Don't design fairies to cascade down the page as a user reads it.

As a marketer or a business owner, there are plenty of avenues where you can be clever. The architecture and the design of your website really shouldn't be one of them.

Create a simple site by designing a logical page structure that is based on headers, lists, and paragraphs. Use a simple navigational structure.

Don't create Flash-based navigation, have crazy dropdowns, or insert elements that serve no function to the user. Have consistency of design and messaging throughout the site to help visitors understand where they are.

A great user experience is one where the visitor didn't notice there was supposed to be a struggle. It just worked.

2. You Tried to be Pretty, Not Useful

Your website has a single goal: to allow users to quickly and effectively accomplish their mission. If your website does this, it is successful. If it doesn't, it has failed.

It doesn't matter if your site has lots of well-written content, if the videos are engaging, or if you have more resources than your audience could possible read through; if it doesn't solve their problem, it's all for nothing.

Build a site that is useful by understanding your audience and their needs. You may choose to do that through:

  • Keyword research
  • Analyzing user queries
  • Talking to your customer support team
  • Tracking movements and behavior patterns
  • Organizing focus groups
  • Creating user personae

Or maybe you'll do a combination of those things. That's great. Identify your visitor's ultimate goal and then create a site that's sole purpose is to help them achieve that.

3. You Forgot Words (or Spelled Them Wrong)

I know all the experts have told you no one reads on the Internet and that your customers don't care about your content. But those people are wrong.

High-quality content helps to separate a good user experience from a poor one. Great content solves the pain points of your audience, it defines the benefits (not the features) of your product or service, it sparks emotion, and it excites a user to take an action.

High-quality content doesn't contain jargon or misspellings, come from sketchy sources, or make people question whether you're serious about your website.

4. You Give Too Many Options

There is no pain quite like arriving at your local diner when you're already starving. You're handed that menu and suddenly you can order nearly anything. Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner. Soup. Salads. It's all on the table, leaving you feeling completely unable to make a decision.

Too many choices is a problem that paralyzes. Instead of finding what we need, we start wondering if this is the best we can do.

We second guess. We overanalyze. We become anxious and frustrated.

Avoid this by guiding your customers into the correct course of action by limiting the choices offered. Your homepage doesn't have to feature every product in your arsenal, maybe just your three best sellers. If a customer likes those, he or she can look further.

Less is more. Cater to what you're good at and remove distractions.

5. You Didn't Make the Action Obvious

If you want visitors to do something, make it obvious what you want them to do.

  • If you want them to click on a link, tell them in the copy and make the link blue.
  • If you want them to download a report, title the button "Download" and use bright colors to get their attention.
  • If you want them to share a piece of content, ask and make it easy for them to do so.

Make sure you visitors know the purpose of the site and what it is you want them to do, regardless of where they land.

6. There's No Communication

Always give visitors a way to communicate with you and your team. Allow them to report bugs, to share their experience, and to tell you where they got lost.

Be proactive by reminding them to tell you these things and let them know how you want them to communicate. Do you want them to have the conversation on Twitter or via a contact form? Encourage users to support your site by supporting them.


You'll notice none of the recommendations above are particularly hard to implement. That's because good usability is based on best practices and creating an experience that intuitive and makes sense for a user.

How well is your site doing at covering the basics?

Why You've already missed the hottest marketing opportunity

(Posted on Feb 6, 2014 at 11:59AM )
One must always be looking to innovate and try new things. The old saying that the early bird gets the worm holds true in most cases. Always be experimenting and measuring your marketing initiatives and remember some of the most lasting initiatives are right in front of you, you read about them and do nothing.

Don’t miss out on opportunities because you want to play it safe and take a wait and see attitude. I am sure this is not what got you started or made you successful.  Some of the most cost effective and lasting initiatives are here now-take action!

Make the commitment this year to experiment and really look for and listen to fresh new ideas and just maybe you will find more success because success will most often not look for you.
William Cosgrove

Related articles:
Know These Must Have Social Media Marketing Tools
Introducing “AutoPhoto”


                 Why you've already missed the hottest marketing opportunity

By Eric Wittlake, {grow} Contributing Columnist

Want to take advantage of today’s hot new marketing opportunity? Sorry, you’ve already missed the boat.

The best opportunity goes to the marketers who identify it well before it’s hot, not the ones who join at the frothy peak. You won’t see those initial eye-popping results today.

This trend has played out time and time again.

The first online banner ad, for AT&T, 44% click rate. Today’s average click rate for an ad the same size (468×60) rounds off to a nice even 0.0%! The only 44% you are likely to find in today’s banner discussion is the percentage of people with an ad blocker installed.

In 1978, Gary Thuerk sent the first unsolicited email to a whopping 400 people. The result? He successfully drove attendance to two in-person events and ultimately closed more than $10 million in sales. Today’s unsolicited marketing email to 400 people wouldn’t be expected to get a single webinar attendee!

Over the last 16 months, organic reach of brand posts on Facebook dropped from 26% to just 7.8%. That’s 70% shaved from the results of your Facebook efforts just for getting started 16 months later!

The story is the always the same. Twitter. Online video. Google AdWords. Blogging. Infographics. Native Ads. The marketers who get in early are the ones with the headline-making results.

Find Your OpportunitiesWhat can we learn from these and other early adopters who captured outsized returns?

  • Innovate. AT&T took advantage of a brand new type of opportunity on HotWired. More recently, SAP was the first marketer to join the Forbes BrandVoice program and they are continuing to see some of the best results today.
  • Know the trend setters and early adopters in your market. Just like Gary’s first email blast, Pinterest delivered astounding results for early adopters. Often the best opportunities are right in front of you—you just need to see them through a marketing lens.
  • Be different. Did you already miss the best opportunity? Whatever you do, don’t just follow the masses! The unexpected nature of something completely new breaks through the filters we have all established for marketing. For a bit of inspiration in a stodgy B2B space, look up Maersk on Facebook. Or if you prefer, consider Red Bull’s marketing.
The Lasting AdvantagesThe early mover advantage doesn’t end there. The benefits of starting early often continue long past the point a marketing activity becomes mainstream.

  • In social media, marketers that started early had a head start building an engaged audience.
  • In content marketing, early adopters learned how to connect with their audience effectively (and got a head start on SEO as well).
  • In online advertising, early movers found the hidden gems. Working with a B2B advertising client about 10 years ago, we helped a niche site create their online ad offering. They became one of our best performing advertising partners for years.
Do you want your share of the results that you always see in case studies but so rarely achieve? Then stop chasing the results other people are getting and start finding your own opportunities.

By the time something is broadly recognized as the next great opportunity, it’s really just table stakes.

Here are some of the areas I’m watching with a marketing, not just product and marketplace, lens:

  • The sharing economy.
  • The Internet of things.
  • The proliferation of inexpensive sensors.
  • The brand new insights, segmentation, personalization and (most importantly) services this information and connectivity enables.
Today, these are becoming things we market. Soon, some will likely become ways that we market as well.

Where do you see potentially uncharted and untapped opportunity for today’s innovative marketers?

Introducing 'PhotoRep'

(Posted on Feb 5, 2014 at 12:33PM )
PhotoRep, is the first photo app of its kind developed by OneBigBroadcast’s innovative technology that augments reputation management, social awareness, search and solidifies your brand through positive feedback from satisfied customers.

You no longer need to let these invaluable marketing opportunities slip by. Capture these happy moments as they happen and share them instantly on your customer satisfaction page and across your social channels.

The happiest time in the buyers experience is the day they take delivery of their new or preowned vehicle, product or service. We have made it easy to capture that moment with a photo and a text statement from the customer as to why they purchased from your business. There are also many times in Service where a customer is more than satisfied with a repair or the prompt and friendly service they received.

These pictures with customer texted statements from your satisfied customers will do more for your reputation and social awareness than anything that is available to you today and will also help with your search rankings. Customer testimonials also have the highest effectiveness rating for content marketing at 89%.  Your employees will also benefit from sharing these treasured moments on their social channels.

Plus, you can capture those funny or treasured moments that occur during business hours and share them with your current and potential customers to show them that you are people to, transparent and customer centric.

PhotoRep also makes a great contest App.

How many products have you invested in that produce invaluable guaranteed benefits from day one, do not need to be proven and take no time to implement.

Start the New Year on a positive and productive note. It may be the best investment you make this year.

Take advantage of our introductory offer and get two first market products at no extra cost for the entire year that will give you the best ROI on anything you do this year.

Follow this link to see our Introductory Special Offer

William Cosgrove

One Big Broadcast

3 Valuable Lessons I Learned About Automotive Social Media in 3 Days

(Posted on Feb 4, 2014 at 12:32PM )

Last week, I started working for Wikimotive as a social media rep. It’s my job to maintain a dealer’s social media presence by creating great content that gets users interacting, and maintain that interaction in order to build a connection.

The automotive industry is new to me; my social media experience up to this point has been general content marketing, which is focused on generating page views and interactions, not necessarily business. The great thing about social media, though, is that my experience in content marketing easily relates to business, as the content I create and promote also generates page views and interactions — it’s simply fine-tuned for a local audience full of potential customers.

With that said, here are three valuable things I learned about automotive social media in 3 days:

1. Don’t Concern Yourself with Big Numbers

Coming from content marketing, bigger was always better. The goal is to drive as much traffic to a blog or piece of content as possible, as quick as possible, and move on.

With automotive marketing, the idea isn’t to necessarily stop worrying about stats and growth, but to realize that you’re not creating “viral” content that will appeal to millions of people all over the world. You’re focusing on an extremely niche market in which precise user targeting is everything. That doesn’t mean your content shouldn’t be appealing to millions, it simply means that ten views from local users is worth more than 10,000 from those living on the opposite side of the country.

If your marketing firm is posting big numbers from your various social media pages, ask them these questions:

  1. Where is the majority of that traffic coming from?
  2. Was the promoted content directly related to my business?
  3. Are users showing interest in my inventory?
2. Interaction Leads to Success

Customer relations is the most important aspect of automotive marketing. Your sales people know this better than anyone. If they’re not there to greet a customer, they’ve lost a potential sale. And if they don’t make a connection with a customer, they’re less likely to follow through with a purchase.

Your social media team needs to know how to interact with users without overtly pushing a sale before the user shows interest. A good social media rep. knows when to begin asking questions about a user’s interest, and when to simply maintain positive interaction with the user.

You’ll find amazing things can happen when your team puts genuine effort into their interactions with your users. It’s what turns users into customers.

 3.  Quality, Relevant Content is Gold

By taking the time to find and craft quality, relevant content, your social media team is paving the way for that crucial interaction. Through my experience in content marketing, I’ve learned about the power of great content, and its effect on users. It can elicit an emotional response, allowing your team to begin building a connection between them and your business.

The Automotive Industry is no exception. Great content will always catch a user’s eye, and that will give them a reason to begin interacting with you. From there, as long as the content is relevant to your business, you can swing the topic of discussion and potentially gain a customer.


Know These Must Have Social Media Marketing Tools

(Posted on Feb 3, 2014 at 01:55PM )
Below I have outlined some examples of how you can setup and implement an onsite social community to start reaping the multitude of benefits and good will that no other form of marketing or rewards program can offer. The possibilities are only limited to your creative ideas.*

The benefits that these communities will bring are the most cost effective way in which to engage, retain, manage and form alliances with your community members that will not only foster retention but promote your business in the most positive ways imaginable.

Onsite Communities brings together the customer's voice with data from enterprise systems such as CRM. In addition to other benefits, engaging customers in community also drives transparency and openness - attributes that modern consumers increasingly expect.

Companies with private social networks can experience better employee relations, customer service, reduced customer complaints and even higher brand loyalty due to brand ambassador programs. Think of having a central place in which to read and understand your customers’ concerns, wants, needs and expectations.

Onsite communities also connect to onsite/online events marketing allowing businesses their customers, employees and event sponsors to manage their own profiles – including creating their own content, updating their company news and social media – which can all be administered with specified permissions tools. This “conglomerate”-style online network harnesses the power of multiple which acts like a magnet to attract search back to your site.

Imagine by combining your onsite community with onsite/online events marketing (Social casting) with blog casting,  and mobile applications all working together to engage potential viewers and fans in real time with GPS galleries that comb your area to attract visibility to the event both during and after it’s over.  These can also be used as a multichannel online sales or advertising event tools to enhance your inbound leads.

Socialcasting in its many forms can boost page ranking and drive traffic in ways that no other form of media can. This can positively impact your overall marketing efforts and is something that any business can benefit from. Technology is constantly providing us with new and creative ways of marketing. Socialcasting is a product of all this new technology and is another way of driving social content to get help get your message out, create attention and drive traffic.

It might seem like a foreign concept at first, but implementing these Socialcasting tools and applications that span the digital realm will take your business to a whole new level and right into the heart of the action.

Although your social brand strategy is important, don’t overlook the potential of harnessing and combining  your own community in a niche social community network with your social brand strategy. 

An onsite social community offers many benefits for you as the business, your employees and the customer that cannot be duplicated elsewhere-providing a win-win situation for all.

*Examples of how to set up an onsite social community. Remember that the possibilities are only limited to your creative ideas.*

Community Members:

Existing members will automatically be made members and sent an e-mail to inform them.

New customers will automatically become members of the community as part of the benefit of doing business with your company.

Site visitors will be invited to join to enjoy member benefits as calls to actions on your web pages.

Member Benefits:

10% discount on service-Link to make an appointment or contact service or free rental etc.

Discount on  purchases- examplean $$$ automatic Discount

Discounts on Extended Warranties, Maintenance Contracts and/or Services

Discounts on financing

Drawing, contests and Special Offers:

Have a monthly drawing for $$$ In Free service that members can entered every month with their e-mail to win to keep members engaged. Take a picture of winners, get testimonial and post to Customer Satisfaction Page and Social Media Sites.

Website would have a link from your website pages or members community profile page for members that is a landing page listing member benefits, news, articles and comments with a link to the entry form for the monthly drawing for services- sales-etc

Take pictures of members when they get discounts etc. get testimonials

Product or detail pages would have an invitation to join free of charge to enjoy members benefits.

William Cosgrove
One Big Broadcast

Not convinced? Here are some related articles that will.

Activating Employees In Social: Is Your Organization Ready?

Are You Ignoring Your Best Brand Advocates?

Make Your Customers Brand Ambassadors [Video]

Are You Failing Socially?

(Posted on Feb 2, 2014 at 12:14PM )
These social experiments further cement the broad impact that social sites have and points out ways in which to utilize them to be the most effective. Undoubtedly Social channels must play a key role in any overall digital marketing plan in order to be effective in the online marketing space.

Any plan requires an investment and must be well thought out to produce the desired results to hit a company’s particular goals but there is a big advantage in that everything pointed out in this infographic by Neil Patel at Quick Sprout comes organically. This in itself can produce enormous saving over the long term if executed properly.

This also raises the argument for having an onsite community that when properly implemented can compliment any social initiative and combined, produce added benefits that cannot be achieved with any form of marketing.

William Cosgrove

The Secret to Delighting Customers? Put Employees First

(Posted on Feb 1, 2014 at 11:19AM )

This is an article recently co-authored by Disney Institute and McKinsey & Company. It explores the connection between companies that are good at both making their customers happy and making their employees happy. Below we explore four of the most important activities customer experience leaders do to make their employees happy. What other activities have you found that are effective?

On a visit to a Disney theme park, a little girl and her mother came to a fenced-off construction site. To her mother’s dismay, the little girl threw her favorite Disney doll, Belle, over the fence. When park staff retrieved the doll, it was in a sorry state, spattered with mud, dress torn, hair bedraggled. Attempts to find a replacement in the shop proved futile: Belle had been replaced by a newer model. So the doll was taken first to a makeup artist, who washed her and styled her hair, then to the wardrobe department, which made her a new dress, and finally to a “party” with other Disney princesses, with a photographer in attendance. 

Good as new, Belle was returned to her owner that evening, along with a photo album that showed what a great time she’d had during her “makeover.” Later, in a thank you letter, the girl’s mother described the moment of Belle’s return as “pure magic.”

What motivates employees to go above and beyond the call of duty to provide this kind of a memorable customer experience? It’s not magic, but method. The theme park team didn’t consult a script or take instructions from their manager. They did what they did because Disney has created a culture where going the extra mile for customers comes naturally. 

Such devotion to customer service pays handsome dividends. Companies offering an exceptional customer experience can exceed their peers’ gross margin by more than 26 percent. Emotionally engaged customers are typically three times more likely to recommend a product and to repurchase it themselves. 

Delivering an exceptional experience consistently is especially important in a world where customers interact with a brand at many different points – in person, through social networks, online. Analyses reveal that performing well across these customer journeys1 is linked with greater market success than individual touchpoint performance. Companies that had a 1-percentage-point lead over their peers in key customer journeys typically enjoyed a 2-percentage-point advantage in revenue growth. In addition, companies that deliver excellent customer journeys increase employee satisfaction and engagement by 30 percent. 

Yet corporate initiatives to improve customer experience struggle to make a tangible difference where it matters most: at the front line. Call center agents read from rigid scripts and get paid for keeping calls short rather than for resolving complaints. Websites try to drive upsell rather than help customers find what they’re looking for. 

In our experience, the best way for companies to create emotional connections with their customers is by ensuring that every interaction delights them. To do that, you need more than great products – you need motivated, empowered people at the front line.

Great customer experience and how to create it Creating great customer experience comes down to having great people and treating them well. Looking after your people makes them feel more engaged with your organization and more committed to your service goals. But how do you put principle into practice? We’ve found that the best companies adopt four habits.

1. Listen to your employees 

If you want your employees to take good care of your customers, start by taking good care of your employees. Treating them respectfully and fairly goes without saying. But go a step further, and get personally involved in tackling their issues and needs. Ensure you have formal mechanisms for employees to express their concerns, either at regular open meetings, through anonymous channels such as internal surveys, or via an ombudsman. Then take action. Communicate what you are doing and how long it will take, and involve the employees themselves in the solution. 

When the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort first opened in 2005, for example, its cast members – Disney’s term for employees – had to pick up their costumes from attendants before starting their shifts. With up to 3,000 cast members arriving at once, waiting in line created delays and frustration. Leaders responded by introducing self-service kiosks, where cast members could simply pick up a costume, scan the tag and their ID, check the screen display, and walk away. Having a smoother start to their day enabled them to focus their energy where it belonged: on guests. So effective was the new approach that Disney subsequently rolled it out to all its theme parks and cruise ships. Not only does it make cast members’ lives easier; it has resulted in significant savings in inventory counting and maintenance. 

Or take BCI, a Chilean bank that acts on its belief that happy employees take better care of customers. It holds regular meetings for staff to voice their problems and needs. More importantly, having listened, it acts. When auditors complained of stiffness and eyestrain, the bank commissioned an ergonomic assessment of their workstations. When new recruits in the legal department said it took them a while to find their footing in their new positions, BCI set up additional briefing sessions. 

Clearly there are limits to what management can do, but by taking tangible action to address employees’ concerns, you demonstrate the strength of your commitment to your front line.

2. Hire for attitude, not aptitude – then reinforce 

If you want friendly service, hire friendly people. Put another way, you can train for skill, but you can’t train for attitude. JetBlue, a perennial leader in customer satisfaction, has embedded this conviction in its front-line hiring process. To recruit individuals with a natural service bent, it uses group interviews. Watching how applicants interact with each other enables the interviewer to assess candidates’ communications and people skills to an extent that wouldn’t be possible in a one-to-one setting.

Best Chevrolet, a large auto dealership in Massachusetts, is another believer in “hiring for nice.” Since adopting and sustaining this approach over several years, it has seen a rise in employee retention and a flow of testimonials from satisfied customers, not to mention a customer-satisfaction rating more than 10 percentage points above the industry average. It also racks up a 69 percent retention rate of customers who still return for services five years after purchase, compared with an industry average of 40 percent. 

Having hired people with the right attitudes, leaders need to ensure they reinforce the behaviors they want to see. Although Disney hires people to pick up trash, everyone in the organization knows that they share responsibility for maintaining a clean and pleasant environment. Asked why he was picking up paper in the restroom, one leader replied, “I can’t afford not to.” Leaders’ actions are visible to all, or as Disney puts it, “Every leader is telling a story about what they value.”

3. Give people purpose, not rules 

To ensure consistent execution across all their operations, large corporations need to define standard operating processes. However, rules and guidelines go only so far. Front-line employees participating in infinitely varied customer interactions won’t always find the answers in manuals. Besides, mechanically following a script saps interactions of authenticity. Instead of detailed lists of process steps, the best companies supply front-line staff with common purpose backed by clear quality standards.

Common purpose – a succinct explanation of the customer experience you are trying to create at an emotional level – motivates employees and gives their work meaning. They choose to go that extra mile through personal passion, not passive compliance. At Disney, for example, common purpose – “We create happiness” – figures in the first day of training for every new recruit at every level. When cast members rescued Belle the doll from a muddy puddle in a construction site, they knew their organization’s purpose was to make her owner happy; their job was to do everything they could to bring that about. 

When BCI was defining its common purpose – developing trust-based customer relationships that last a lifetime – senior leaders kicked off the process, and then cross-functional teams stepped in to craft it, in a collaborative effort that built ownership across the business. 

Defining a common purpose is one thing; living it, however, is another. The bank’s leaders like to tell a story about a lottery winner who was looking for a bank to entrust with his prize money. When he visited a BCI branch, he was impressed to find that employees didn’t just try to sell him products but made an effort to identify and satisfy his needs. Explaining why he chose BCI, he said its employees struck him as genuine. By living the company’s values, they had earned his trust without even realizing it.

After aligning on a common purpose, an organization needs to make it concrete through a set of quality 

standards: priorities that guide front-line staff in delivering the desired customer experience. BCI employees follow four quality standards: safety (fulfill commitments with transparency and competence); closeness (get to know your customer and connect emotionally); diligence (promptly advise and execute responsibly with agility, ease, and simplicity); and image (project the values of BCI in each action and location). 

When people are trusted to do their job and given clear expectations rather than an instruction manual, they feel more valued and empowered – qualities that can’t help but show in the customer experience they provide. In the first year of BCI’s program to improve customer experience, satisfaction among its retail banking customers rose by 33 percent.

4. Tap into the creativity of your front line 

Giving front-line employees responsibility and autonomy creates a sense of ownership that inspires them to do everything they can to improve the customer experience. When they see a problem, they fix it without waiting to be asked. 

The best companies recognize that front-line staff are also a rich source of customer insights. They can help leaders understand what customers want – and how to provide it – without the time and expense of market research. To get the most value from these insights, organizations need to build good “plumbing”: robust channels to get information up the hierarchy to leaders who can act on it. 

Consider Wawa, a U.S. convenience-store chain based on the East Coast. Knowing that its store managers understand local customers’ needs better than any desk-bound analyst ever could, it grants them considerable latitude over what they sell.

One enterprising manager decided his customers would welcome a coffee bar and more fresh food options. When customer traffic and profits soared, head office noticed and quickly dispatched a team to investigate. On their return, the team explained how the manager had boosted sales and presented a plan for rapidly replicating the innovation across other stores in the network.

How do you do it? Show you genuinely C.A.R.E. So what does it take to deliver a consistently top-level customer experience? Sadly, there is no short cut to becoming best in class. Most companies take years. But there are four things you can do to get off to a good start: 

Clarify. Before you embark on a customer-experience transformation, put as much effort and rigor into understanding your employees as you do into understanding your customers. Treat interviews, surveys, and suggestion boxes as important sources of information. Combine the input you receive with customer satisfaction scores, business metrics, and employee churn rates to isolate the issues that matter most to your employees and your business. 

Align. Define a common purpose that encapsulates what your organization stands for, and make it the emotional pivot around which all your employee and customer strategies revolve. Forget slick marketing campaigns; instead, use common purpose to rouse your people to action on the things that count. Make sure all your leaders are 100 percent on board. Without their commitment, communication and implementation will soon break down. 

Reinforce. Even the best customer-experience program is of no use unless leaders put their commitment into practice by being role models for the behaviors they want employees to adopt. Seeing leaders acting in a new way encourages employees to follow suit and makes common purpose a living reality within the organization. To help the changes stick you need a systematic reinforcement program combining training, coaching, and 360-degree feedback mechanisms. Develop metrics to track how employees are performing, and intervene when necessary. Training and coaching should evolve over time as the needs of employees and the organization change. 

Empower. Clarity about expectations plus freedom to act equals an empowered front line. Establish quality standards to ensure your people make real-time decisions that are consistent with your common purpose. Then support your quality standards with behavioral guidelines to shape your desired customer experience and enable your staff to measure, coach, recognize, and reward one another in their day-to-day work. Armed with this framework, they’ll be able to handle every customer encounter in a way that expresses your company’s vision and values.

Technological advances have made it much easier for business enterprises to understand customers on an individual basis. Even so, engaging with them is still largely done by people at the front line, through personal contact. The continuous relationship of trust with customers that companies seek to nurture is built one interaction at a time. That’s what your people are hired to do. So to create an emotional bond with your customers, start by engaging your employees.

Disney Institute and McKinsey & Company collaborate to provide customer experience transformations to a portfolio of global clients.

Authors: Fernando Beltran, Dilip Bhattacharjee, Harald Fandel, Bruce Jones, Scott Lippert, Francisco Ortega

Disney Institute and McKinsey & Company

How to Humanize your Brand with Social Creation

(Posted on Jan 31, 2014 at 11:57AM )

Traditionally, marketing has always been thought of as business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C). With social media in the mix, marketing is no longer so black and white. Marketing messages are getting lost in translation on Facebook, Google Plus and when cut to 140 characters on Twitter. The idea is that all this content has been optimized for consumer engagement, but in reality consumers can’t all be quantified down to statistics. Consumers want to be marketed to as individuals, not based on the general tendencies of their demographic.


Consumers are tired of content being fed to them. In turn, they are becoming content creators and user generated content (UGC) is on the rise. All visual platforms allow consumers to create their own product photos and fan videos. Essentially anyone with a cellphone can snap a photo or be a model. Social media and the rise of Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat, enables businesses to connect with consumers on the individual level and for consumers to respond. With UGC, consumers are shaping and molding brands. Businesses are able to react and interact with consumers on a personalized level. It’s time to market H2H, human to human.

Humanize Your Brand
Away with B2B and B2C marketing, consumers are seeking a more personal connection with a brand on social media. Following a brand is more than expressing what you like, a consumer wants to be informed of the company culture, news, and product releases.

As the ease of information sharing increases, the consumers’ need to know more has also flourished. Companies have realized the way to satisfy consumers’ inquires is to be genuine and simple, qualities people want to see in friends, family, society, and now businesses. Companies are starting to change their social media strategies to a more humanized approach and social commerce is no different. eCommerce sites are jumping on the UGC bandwagon, integrating fan photos onsite with social curated galleries.

Social Curated Galleries
Create a social and visual site experience with live galleries filled with original images of real customer showcasing your products. Track these photos by using a unique and creative hashtag for your brand. Emphasize a specific product, event or create a general one for your brand as a whole. Display photos featuring this hashtag on your homepage to drive new product discovery or feature them on product pages for increased conversions.

Allowing your consumers to upload personal product photos will help other shoppers visualize your products in real life. Implementing a social curated gallery will allow consumers to see your products in the hands of people like them and in turn allowing them to relate to the product on a more personal level. This personal connection results in great conversions, social gallery participants have a 23% higher conversion rate than a regular consumer.

Increase social reach with Top Influencers
Not only will a social curated gallery humanize your brand, it will also spark incentive for consumers to take product photos and spread awareness via their social media networks. On top of being displayed on your site, the photos will be spread over consumers’ networks like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Recognize top influencers and trendsetters in featured galleries or take it to another level by turning it into a contest. This recognition will increase brand loyalty and drive consumer engagement. Shoppers that interact with social galleries discover, on average, 5 new products to which they express purchase intent for.

Content creation is an armed race, but every once in awhile, slow down and listen to what your consumers are saying. Use social curated galleries to see which products are trending, what consumers are sharing, and what they want more of.

By Alinn Louv