We don’t expect perfection from our friends on Facebook. Why should we expect it from brands that share the same space?
Companies are comprised of people, who inherently make mistakes. As our online identities absorb our “true selves”, businesses must adapt to suit this transparency. No more fake smiles.
Contents Magazine contributor Melissa Rach refers to a Trendwatching report that notes “Flawsome” retailers catching on. These brands “are honest about their flaws, [and] show some empathy, generosity, humility, flexibility, maturity, humor, and dare we say it, some character and humanity” (Trendwatching.com).
Should you adopt a “flawsome” strategy for your online branding? Consider your goals first. “Flawsome” brands:
- Seek feedback from customers. A flawsome brand will often invite comments, complaints, and queries, with a human-focused social media presence that makes it easy for customers to communicate directly with the brand and receive timely answers or advice.
- Want to inform customers about new products, services, or incentives in a friendly, humorous way that doesn’t require promotional language.
- Are ready to introduce themselves to their audiences in an honest way, because they are confident in their employees and their product or service.
- Require an effective communication strategy for dealing with problems or customer conflicts.
A “flawsome” brand strategy will not fit every company’s goals. For those that have mastered conflict resolution and maintaining reputation with “flawsome” tactics, the results show that audiences do respond positively to the concept.
Trendwatching.com uses a Domino’s Pizza incident to showcase “flawsome” marketing in action. Take a look here (http://trendwatching.com/trends/12trends2012/?flawsome).
Does the Domino’s situation seem familiar? “Flawsome” might work for your brand. Consider these web choices:
Humanize the tone of voice throughout your website and social media platforms. Introduce your users to employees or personas that match your brand, with biography pages and images.
Own up, immediately
Use customer complaints, conflicts, and mess-ups as opportunities to offer graceful, sincere apologies that are timely and totally public. Take the Argos.com example as your model (http://www.i-com.net/blog/social-media-protect-your-business-from-angry-mps/).
Lighten up, seriously
A bit oxymoronic there, but useful in “flawsome” strategy. Use humor and self-deprecation to level with your audience on a person-to-person communication stream, instead of corporation-to-person. In your content, social media interactions, and service delivery, imagine looking at your user at eye level.
Kill your darlings
In this case, the “darlings” are those promotional little bitties that litter your homepage with phony, inflated claims. They look so pretty, but they make savvy users skeptical of your sincerity. Phrases like “The best cheesecake in North America!” or “The most wonderful spa experience you’ll ever have” require the boot.
“Flawsome” brands use these tactics because they understand that the door between online and mainstream culture is closing fast. Users want “real” experiences, and genuine interactions with the brands that they share space with in online communities.
Get real, friends.
Rach, Melissa. “We Can All Learn From Retail? I’ll Buy That.” Contents Magazine: http://contentsmagazine.com/articles/we-can-all-learn-from-retail-ill-buy-that/