Community and Crisis Tips all Brands Should Know: a Khoros Engage LDN Recap
During the first-ever Khoros Engage LDN, more than 200 marketing, care, and community professionals joined Khoros to hear how some of the world’s leading brands — including LEGO, Sky, Innocent Drinks, Breast Cancer Care, and many more — are delivering excellent customer experiences to create customers for life.
The day kicked off with Pete Hess, Khoros CEO, presenting a quote from Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, who said: “One thing I love about customers is that they are divinely discontent. Their expectations are never static — they go up. It’s human nature. We didn’t ascend from our hunter-gatherer days by being satisfied. People have a voracious appetite for a better way, and yesterday’s ‘wow’ quickly becomes today’s ‘ordinary’.”
Attendees learned that to rise above the ordinary and provide an authentic customer engagement experience, you can implement one of two tactics: first, ensure that you’re building a true community around your brand. Second, use moments of crisis as opportunities to get even closer to that community. Building community and communicating well during a crisis yield real business value by getting you closer to your customers.
Here’s what Khoros Engage LDN presenters had to say:
Build an Authentic Community Your Customers Need
Liam Dyson, Head of Digital Product (including Help, Community, Content, and BT/EE) at Plusnet, and Lauren Spearman, Digital Manager at Benefit Cosmetics, shared their thoughts on the power of bringing communities together — both online and offline — to enhance customer experience and drive brand loyalty.
Liam Dyson talked about the importance of transparency and honesty, as well as a brand’s ability to listen to customer sentiment to drive a great community; he also stressed the importance of leaving brand ego behind and really listening to the customers’ expectations, needs, and feedback.
To build an authentic community, brands must leave their egos behind and really listen to their customers' expectations, needs, and feedback.
For both PlusNet’s brand community and the Benefit Cosmetics social community, the same principle holds true: be authentic and be where your customers need you. Lauren Spearman spoke about the importance of talking about subjects your customers care about at a specific point in time – even if not directly related to your products.
Later in the day, Helena Langdon, Head of Digital and Communities at Innocent Drinks, and Anna Brown, Digital Community Officer at Breast Cancer Care, advised that brands should first consider their product or service and how it affects their audience, then make a strategic decision about which emotion(s) the brand will convey in marketing efforts.
While Innocent Drinks are known for their humorous and engaging social content, Breast Cancer Care must consider a wide range of emotions — including sadness, anger, and frustration — within their community. Anna Brown, Digital Community Officer at Breast Cancer Care, said, “users refer to the community as their online family” — in other words, a safe environment where they can share their fears and experiences.
And yet, what brings together Innocent Drinks and Breast Cancer Care — through emotions like humor or empathy — is their drive to be human. “We have loads to do,” said Helena Langdon, “but we always have the time to make a human connection.”
Navigate a crisis to get even closer to your customers
Many of the brands present spoke to keeping audiences engaged — but what do you do when your customers are unhappy and perhaps looking to switch their allegiances? Ben Kay, Head of Brand, Marketing, and Digital at Thames Water recognizes these challenges, as his role covers both marketing and care.
To properly navigate a crisis without losing customers, Kay recommends operating with the 3Ps as a strategy: purpose, preparation, and people. The bottom line: No brand is immune to a crisis, and brands must take a proactive approach to customer care if they want to protect their brand once one arises.
- Have a clear purpose: what does your brand contribute to the world?
- Be prepared for the unexpected.
- Bridge silos in your organization (especially marketing and care) to function as one team.
The bottom line: No brand is immune to a crisis, and brands must take a proactive approach to customer care if they want to protect their brand once one arises.
Steph Hamill from the HAM agency walked the audience through a few examples of well-known social media crises such as the HMV employees twitter take-over and the Dove “Real Beauty” campaign. Her advice on the best way to manage a crisis? Don't ignore it, and be authentic in your reply. She went on to say that “social is a place for humans to thrive.”
The Future of the Connected Customer
Khoros Engage LDN demonstrated that customer engagement has never been more important — and bridging the gap between customers’ expectations and brands’ perception of these expectations are paramount. Eight in ten consumers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience as big business falls short on expectations, and with 75% of organizations believing themselves to be customer-centric but only 30% of consumers agreeing, there is a big opportunity for brands to improve their customer engagement.
Whether in your brand’s community or during a crisis, the only way to deliver a customer experience that meets your company goals and targets — as our speakers demonstrated — is staying authentic to your brand purpose and listening to what your customers are looking for.
Editor's note: Want more insights to drive your digital customer engagement strategy? Join us for our next event: Khoros Engage NYC.