Monitoring and Measuring Viral Buzz Part 2
Continuing with our series of posts on how to measure the virality of an online buzz, we’d like to present you with a second type of brand profile on social media:
The functional brand
There are certain brands that while we are willing to share about them on the social web and tell whether we loved them or hated them, do not necessarily generate loads of conversation.
They are the basic hotel chains, certain cell phone providers, delivery services. You just want them to work.
Case in point:
You want your delivery on time, your hotel room clean, the service to be acceptable, and not necessarily anything more.
For brands like these, for which customers don’t necessarily write pages and pages about their feelings about the brands and their offerings, it can be difficult to tease out what it is that brands can offer beyond what they already are. If customers just want something to work and aren’t asking for anything beyond on-time delivery, say, it’s not obvious to want to try to go above and beyond a customer’s expectations, right? After all, the law of diminishing returns ensures that even if you were to spend more and more and more, they may not even notice. So my mail shows up in a shiny red car instead of an ugly brown car? Why do I care?
But if we look at brands that have gone the extra step, it’s easy to see the returns they’ve received.
Who hasn’t heard rave reviews of Zappos customer service or Best Buy’s Twelpforce?
By providing above-and-beyond service and allowing employees to express their individual characters, Zappos has enabled customers to become part of their community. They have allowed their customers to spread the word for them and develop the strong online reputation that they have today. Zappos managed to change a “functional” brand into an exceptional brand, both online and offline.
Best Buy allowed its internal force to help spread the word of mouth about an otherwise “functional brand” or store. By allowing employees from all operations to tweet from the Best Buy @Twelpforce account, they harnessed their internal intelligence to provide quick, reliable answers to consumers simply looking for an answer they could trust. Wading through forums for opinions can be confusing and often not yield the results that people are looking for. What better way, then, to encourage word-of-mouth by immediately answering people’s needs in an easily accessible, highly visible manner.