The We First Blog.

How to use social media in ways no one else imagined

July 2, 2012 Comments

That’s the thing about what’s new or the latest. You think that just by embracing it you’re doing enough to keep up with the market. But sadly, as the half life of social technology shrinks, the need to stand out even within the context of the latest and greatest is increasingly the only way to earn and keep attention on your brand.

That’s why I love this artful use of Pinterest by perennial news-maker, Uniqlo. Somehow they managed to co-opt social media itself to make your participation part of their design aesthetic, rather than the other way round. By doing so they reinforce their compelling brand image as a design thought leader that is unconventional, street-wise, and one step ahead of the latest and greatest social technology.

So before we get transfixed by the unblinking eyes of the latest shiny squirrel, play with it a bit and discover how to say something unique about ourselves. To that end, here’s three questions to ask yourself:

1. How can a social network be re-purposed to communicate your brand purpose, rather than merely serve as a platform as they define it?

2. How can you introduce content or a sensibility that is outside the parameters set by that social network to ensure you stand out?

3. How does your brand claim ownership of a proposition that always puts you ahead of the competition no matter what technology comes along?

Head-scratchers to be sure, but the answers lead to eye-catching solutions for your brand.




Why social media means customer service can make or break your brand

June 24, 2012 Comments

Customer service is often the lesser cousin to self-congratulatory brand marketing, and for a long time customers have simply endured this situation as they were effectively powerless to do anything about it. But no more. Increasing customer frustration is being match by growing pressure on brands to service the customers they have says the newly released 2012 American Express® Global Customer Service Barometer.

Not surprisingly, social media is instrumental in this shift. Consumers are using social media are wielding growing influence, telling more people about their service experiences, good and bad.

Here are some of the key facts from the report that dramatize how customer service can make or break tour brand as a function of what it inspire customers to say about you across their social media channels:

  • Customers say they’d spend 21% more with companies who deliver great service,  compared to 13% on average.
  • More than eight in ten consumers have bailed on a purchase because of a poor service experience compared to 55% overall.
  • On average social media users will tell 42 people about their good experiences, compared to 15 people overall.

When it comes to specific complaints, consumer sentiment is equally declarative. When asked what would most cause consumers to switch brands, the responses were:

    • Rudeness: 33%
    • Passing the buck: 26%
    • Waiting: 10%
    • Constant follow-ups: 10%

As damning as this seems, it also represents a clear description of areas in which your brand can exceed its competitors using social media. In return, customers will use their own channels to champion their positive experiences.

The net takeaway of the Report is that social media is polarizing the impact of customer service in your business. The better your service, the greater the benefits. The worse it is, the more it’s shared. So while it seems self-evident  to say that a company should be committed to genuinely serve its customers (especially since it’s far cheaper to keep a customer than win a new one or convert a critic), social media is reminding us that this is a must if you want to succeed in the social business marketplace.

You can download the full report here.



Good Works! Your practical guide to corporate good initiatives

June 20, 2012 Comments

It’s rare to find a book that is equal parts inspiring and practical. Good Works! by Phillip Kotler, David Hessekiel, and Nancy Lee is that rare read that shows you just how much is possible as an individual and a corporation, and what real value that can add to your business and our world.

It’s no surprise that We First believes that brand purpose is now a core business imperative, but Good Works! makes the business case for these initiates based on dozens of case studies that include GE, J&J, AT&T, Macy’s, P&G, Fedex, Coca-Cola and beyond. In doing so they clearly illustrate how business can do good in alignment with its company’s core values, so that such efforts reinforce the brand narrative while also doing good.

Not surprising, any brand contemplating such a move wants to know the benefit to them, and that where the book is so useful. The authors clearly demonstrate how good works inspire customer engagement that builds reputation, spire loyalty and drives sales, whether those good works involve employee volunteering or consumer donations. It also does this with a healthy blend of optimism and advice for the cynics, explaining why certain initiates fail and others succeed as a function of your motives.

What I like most is how the authors tease out the various ways that business can do good,  from maing a contribution, to donating employee time, to getting their own house in order to temper the negative externalities of their own business practices.

Good Works! is a must read for corporate officers (whether innovation, HR or leadership officers) seeking to ensure brand relevance, reputation and sales. This is real world intelligence that can empower a brand to embrace its best self and in so doing, inspire its employees and customers to grow its business by building a better world.

You can order Good Works! here and follow author David Hessekiel here.






The expanding Social TV landscape and where your brand fits in

June 18, 2012 2 Comments

A few weeks ago I shared an infographic of the social media landscape so that we can all consider our place and future in it. The impact of that inforgraphic is compounded when you consider the explosion of the Social …

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Huge thanks on our one year anniversary

June 14, 2012 0 Comments

At the risk of sounding like an old man, it’s amazing how time flies. It’s a year to the day that We First, the book, came out, and I wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support …

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Why consumers will trump advertisers (and why Facebook has it right)

June 11, 2012 1 Comments

The recent Facebook/GM arm wrestle just prior to the Facebook IPO raised an important issue as to whether Facebook should reformat its advertising to suit marketers or continue to let users drive its advertising. I believe Facebook has it right …

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The key to transformative customer service

June 6, 2012 0 Comments

It is fitting that perhaps the most distilled articulation of the key to successful customer service should come from Mahatma Gandhi himself, as an extension of the life of service (in a larger sense) that he led. There is little …

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Learning and insights from Coca-Cola’s ‘Arctic Home’

June 3, 2012 0 Comments

Last week I had the pleasure of listening to a joint session between Coca-Cola and WWF at the Cause Marketing Forum in Chicago. As anyone who noticed the white Arctic Home Coca-Cola cans will tell you, the campaign to protect and restore polar bear habitat was …

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About Simon Mainwaring

We First training and consulting helps the world’s most innovative brands tell the story of the good work they do in ways that build their reputation, employee productivity, sales and social impact.

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