Consumer Friending

headphones
Talk with me like a friend and I’ll advocate for you all day long.

We often speak with our clients about brands and companies who are “doing it right” – engaging authentically in the social space and embracing their customers.  I’ve found that the more theoretical these conversations get, the blanker the client’s face.

In an effort to make social more tangible for marketers everywhere, I’d like to share a story from my own experience with a brand that is “doing it right.”

About a week ago, I visited the iFrogz website and created a custom set of Fallout Headphones (pictured).  Feeling pleased with the result, I ordered them and sat back with a big smile on my face, dreaming of strapping my signature colors to my head and grooving to a steady soundtrack of show tunes and 80’s euro-pop, while I plug away behind my desk.

Caught up in the euphoric haze of my black-and-yellow happiness, I decided to let the world know about my latest endeavor.  I launched my twitter client (dressed in my own custom black and yellow theme, of course) and tweeted a picture of my latest acquisition.

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To be honest, I went back to my work and really didn’t think much about the post.  (Full disclosure: I did secretly hope that one of my twitter-mates might respond raving about my headphones.)  Within a matter of minutes, a reply did come… from iFROGZ.

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The message was simple and to the point, ”These are sweet, enjoy them!” Accompanied by a retweet of my earlier post.  No sales pitch. No advertising. No marketing or corporate brand speak, just a quick quip, as if I were a friend they spoke with on a regular basis.

I was really impressed with the gesture.  I immediately reached out to continue the conversation.  We went back and forth about the experience and the colors I chose.  As if we were friends!  Once again, they never tried to up-sell me or push me to check out a new section on their site, just a conversation.  In the end, I felt great about my purchase and then I did what every brand hopes: I advocated.

As soon as the conversation ended, I immediately called over co-workers, explained what happened, showed them the conversation, and ultimately led them straight to the iFrogz website. I showed them the headphone customization module and how quick and easy it was to personalize.  Just like that, I became a brand advocate.  I even posted the story to our company’s blog.  You’re reading it right now. I’m advocating.

iFrogz successfully leveraged digital to do what no other medium can.  They made the effort to actively listen to the conversations surrounding their brand and they got involved.  Instantly. The conversation we shared wasn’t planned and it wasn’t part of a large “advocacy building” campaign (though, I’m sure it was part of an internal initiative to be active on Twitter.)  They took the time to speak with me about something we had in common.  In the end, a few minutes of time and 5 bits of correspondence (each less than 140 characters) earned them a satisfied customer, a vocal brand advocate, and a likely repeat purchaser.

How’s that for ROI?