Friday, July 17, 2009

We Can’t Fake It Anymore

In business, staging or controlling an experience requires a storefront or website with a team of employees as the performers and leadership directing it all. The audience sits in breathless anticipation, waiting to be dazzled.

Cue: action! And…what happened? Where did everybody go?

Today, social media platforms are the latest stage. Fans, customers and audiences are no longer limited to your storefront or website as the source of their primary experience. Even more significant, the audience does not need a director or your cast of performers.

Consumers can write their own scripts, direct the action and complete sales and provide their own services - without your permission. They can also switch hats, assuming the role of critic, to judge the quality of their fellow users and performers. Armed with online rating tools, they can champion the best experiences and denigrate average or bad experiences.

Factoid: 70% of online consumers report taking advice from strangers. That means a fourteen year-old girl and her satirical video can have just as much influence as your million dollar ad campaign. Controlling information (the script) is a dead-end strategy, so why even bother?

Your audience wants an authentic experience–greater transparency, believable resources, and honest leaders, meaningful interactions with real people like themselves.

The opportunity now is not to simply stage another experience. An emerging, more dynamic choice is for organizations to let their audiences (employees too!) define, create and deliver the user experience, while you help draw attention and facilitate it.

  • Let go, and facilitate
  • Take down the curtain and demonstrate the process, transparently
  • Find your audience and join them. Listen to what they are saying and add your thoughts
  • Invite users to post to your site and rate your services, your employees
  • Encourage your employees to become champions by supporting their interactions with customers and allowing them to be completely "real" with every customer interaction

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