Sustainability (and such)

Empathy and more

Yup, Corporate Social Responsibility can make or break a business or program.  Here are a few reminders and new thoughts about sustainability and communication.

EMPATHY (Can you identify with your customers?)

Think beyond customer service to including the “invisible hand” of empathy. Today’s shifting communication landscape brings up the need for empathetic efforts to secure customer loyalty.  (That’s why current colleges are including the corporate obsession over social media as an attempt to control, steer, monitor and grow the conversations about a company and its products.)  Watch this video about empathy as a social and psychological force that is changing academia, business practices, and the development of our shifting cultures.

RESEARCH:  (Have you done the rigorous/objective investigation into your market, including competitors, customer interviews, and future SWOT elements?)

Research – through methods such as interviews, focus groups, surveys, etc. – can help answer this critical question:  What does your customer expect from you? Whether you’re working on a brand identity or product launch, research is key to successfully meeting market demand. In addition to the research methods above, you’ll also learn from contacts through customer service (building loyalty), recognition (personal opportunities, free samples, and targeted messages), and exploring low-cost methods to expand the perceived value of your service/product.  Make sure your research is outside of friends and family to measure the changing landscape in terms of possible bonuses for sales transactions, multiple options for consumers, and truly listening to customer questions so you can always emphasize reasons to buy/engage.  In addition, Google Analytics and other software can track customer conversion rates, repeat purchases, and how customers interact with your website.

PIVOTING:  (Are you poised to change your communication model and direction based on input from the market/customer?)

Based on the above research, be prepared to pivot even if you’re not changing the product.  Here are five first steps to build pivoting into your model.  Some organizations tailor social media messages or testimonials to include specific results of the product that dovetail with trending topics.  Pivot according to the current voices in social justice/sustainability; for instance, don’t forget the viral impact of participating in local charity efforts.  Simply, pivoting is a strategy to link your business success and customer needs.

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