Tuesday, December 1, 2009


I just finished reading the book Trust Agents from Chris Brogan and Julien Smith. Obviously it is a must read for everyone in the business world.

When I reflected on the content I had some kind of epiphany. Most corporations and organizations do think that when the crisis is over that they will return to the previous state of ‘business- as-usual’. We just have to focus on some more cost cutting and then we will be good for the next phase. Not much will change.

By doing that they make a big mistake! The world is changing structurally and it will not return to the old habits and patterns again. For a long time the large corporations determined what we  –the customer-  should buy or do. “They knew what was good for us’. They invented push marketing strategies for that.

Although the saying is that the customer is king, it never really was. The customer was king as long as it suited their way of doing business.

That has changed significantly with the possibilities of the Web and social media.. Through the use of these tools any individual voice can (and will) be heard in many place. The ripple effect of tools like Twitter and Facebook is huge. So, the customer gains influence, see for example the guitar case with American Airlines. In this way the customer becomes a force to be reckoned with. A force, which can match the powers and behaviors of large corporations and institutions.

The Web enables communication not only to be on an even level (buyers and sellers are equal), but also on a more personal level. Brogan/Smith call it the importance of being human. “…..  people are sick of brochures and sales letters. They want the real thing”. Customers are demanding that shift, right now and if you are not listening to their calls, you will miss the boat. Old times will not revive. The way you interact and listen to the customer is crucial for your business success. Customer service is king!

The Web and social media give businesses the opportunity to reveal the human side of  their orgnization. That is the main challenge: be human again! Develop professional as well as personal (ProPer) strategies!
I fully support Brogan/Smith when they say that trust and the humanizing of business is where the action is.

So, what are you going to do differently??


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