Lisa Macpherson, Hallmark: “A trend, particularly acute among millennial consumers, is a very strong bias towards transparency and authentic, real connections with brands. This is driving a merging of the concepts of reputation and brand.”
Lisa Machpherson, CMO of Hallmark, said this in an interview with Forbes writer Robert Reiss in his article “Customer Experience Is Now The 5th Marketing ‘P’… And Other Top CMO Insights.” I picked this particular quote out from this quote filled article because the level of transparency a company or corporation should have and the role social media has as a promotion tool typically has two viewpoints. This debate has come into effect in my personal experiences within my internship as well as within my academic career. With little research about the long term benefits of the level of transparency with this relatively new method of communication, it is difficult to know for sure which method is better.
From my personal experiences the level of transparency can and will decide the relationship that your brand has with its customers. You must ask yourself is this relationship consistent with my brand and the message that you want to send your customers. Fostering this relationship correctly can truly differentiate yourself from competition that fails to utilize these promotional tools to their advantage. This is especially true for small local business that does not have a budget to spend on promotions. With individualized messages that consistent with your brand, you will make a lasting impact on customers.
Take this Yelp post on The Brunchery’s local yelp page for example.
The customer seemed to have an okay experience with her “dinning companion” giving The Brunchery a three out of five star rating, but did note a few things were off about her meal. A few days later the owner of the local restaurant comments on her review first thanking her for her review, and recommending other things on the menu that might fit her taste buds. He politely responses to her review, and encourages her to return to The Brunchery soon.
An avid Yelper myself, I had never noticed that there was a comment feature even available after the post button, but I remembered this response and associate this positive experience with The Brunchery. This post has not motivated me personally to The Brunchery; however, I recommended many of my friends to go simply because they are one of the few breakfast places that has differentiated themselves from the competition using social media.
Would this work on a corporate level, or even in a larger restaurant chain, probably not; however, by consistently relying a message, you can differentiate yourself from competitors.