I attended a terrific meeting and presentation this morning, hosted by the NY American Marketing Association. The breakfast session was entitled Strategies for Brands in the Digital Age.
The presenter was David Rogers who is the Executive Director of the Center on Global Brand Leadership at Columbia University. Mr. Rogers is also the author of a new book entitled The Network is Your Customer – 5 Strategies to Thrive in a Digital Age.
One of the main points in the book is that there is a new paradigm called the customer network and it needs to be understood, respected and leveraged by companies, but they must never try to control it and there is no need to fear it.
In the old days, there were very few places for consumers to get information about a company and its products and services. Companies were usually the only sources of “reliable” information around. It was an era of mass production and mass communication and the company was clearly in control of the product/service, the message and the brand.
Today, in the digital age and with the explosion of social networking, companies no longer “control” the message or their brands. They influence, guide and nurture the message and brand but they can no longer make misleading claims or define their brand, products and services in a vacuüm like the executive boardroom or at the advertising agency holiday party.
Mr. Rogers goes on to point out that consumers place a higher value on the opinions of friends, colleagues, family and now also those in their social networks, than on corporate ads or paid spokespeople – when it comes to evaluating a product or service.
The book goes on to identify and detail five steps to help companies develop a Customer Network Strategic Plan.
1. Setting Objectives
2. Segmentation & Positioning
3. Strategy Selection & Ideation
Mr. Rogers also goes on to redefine the infamous purchase funnel, adding a level for loyalty and customer advocacy.
I have only read the first 40 pages but I can’t wait to read the rest. David Rogers’ insights and views and the many case studies he uses to illustrate his points make this book an easy read and a very valuable tool for today’s marketers.
Many thanks to the NY AMA for hosting this session.