Community Management, Social Media Strategy, Social Media Marketing, Social Media Monitoring

A Trickle of Transparency

Can the principles of social media work offline?

Many brands are unsure of how (or whether) to dive in to the social media pool. That’s not surprising. To fundamentally reconsider the relationship between brand and its customers isn’t a course correction that can be accomplished over a plate of chicken nachos and a margarita. After all, social media can be scary.

But even if a brand isn’t ready to go full social media monty, can’t the principles of enabling customers to know more about the brands they support be perpetuated offline in a more controlled environment?

JCrew seems to think so.

In their most recent catalog, they have staff quotes on many of the pages. The example below reads almost like a blog, and gives customers some insight into company operations. Other examples are more in the semi-icky “My, doesn’t that scarf match the bangle bracelets? — Jean, stylist” variety.

jcrew A Trickle of Transparency

This reminds me of a program I worked on years ago for Circle K (the large chain of convenience stores). I was responsible for strategy for a new Circlek.com Web site. This pre-dated social media, and how to make a convenience store Web site worth visiting was not entirely obvious.

We ended up pursuing a brand advocacy strategy whereby we created a ton of Web site content that would bring Circle K customers closer to the brand, and hopefully sow the seeds of a relationship beyond “two packs of Camel Lights, and a Slim Jim.” Much the same way that JCrew is trying to bring down the veil a bit, we had featured clerks, unusual food items from global Circle K stores, daily deals emails, etc.

What else can brands do to become more “human” if they’re not ready to support a full-fledged social media outreach initiative?

  • http://www.bkpracticepro.com/ Jay Fleischman

    The key to social media is the same thing as ALL media. It’s a give-to-get mentality, a relationship between the consumer of the goods and/or services and the provider. When the consumer is recognized as important – give them what they want, and how they want it – the provider conveys an honest image. the consumer needs to know that the provider cares and isn’t hiding anything – and that increases trust. Online, offline, social media is what drives the world.

    Jay Fleischman’s last blog post..Marketing A Bankruptcy Practice In Tough Times

  • http://www.bkpracticepro.com Jay Fleischman

    The key to social media is the same thing as ALL media. It’s a give-to-get mentality, a relationship between the consumer of the goods and/or services and the provider. When the consumer is recognized as important – give them what they want, and how they want it – the provider conveys an honest image. the consumer needs to know that the provider cares and isn’t hiding anything – and that increases trust. Online, offline, social media is what drives the world.

    Jay Fleischman’s last blog post..Marketing A Bankruptcy Practice In Tough Times

  • http://www.sonnygill.com/ Sonny Gill

    That’s great work JCrew is doing. David Mullen wrote a post recently about his experience with JCrew and how they touched upon the current times with a note/thank you card. It’s definitely the little things like these that make a huge impact on businesses today and help show a bit more transparency offline.

    David’s post – http://davidwmullen.com/2009/01/03/consumer-loyalty-magic-words/

    Sonny Gill’s last blog post..Transparency – The Double-edged Sword

  • http://www.sonnygill.com Sonny Gill

    That’s great work JCrew is doing. David Mullen wrote a post recently about his experience with JCrew and how they touched upon the current times with a note/thank you card. It’s definitely the little things like these that make a huge impact on businesses today and help show a bit more transparency offline.

    David’s post – http://davidwmullen.com/2009/01/03/consumer-loyalty-magic-words/

    Sonny Gill’s last blog post..Transparency – The Double-edged Sword

  • Kelly Davis

    I’ve always liked it when companies take this approach, but had never drawn the social media parallel – you’re so right, it’s very much the same idea. Nice post.

    Along the same lines, I love it when bookstores (the Strand in NYC does this) put employee recommendations/mini-reviews next to the books they like – very humanizing, and it often leads me to pick up a title I’d usually pass by.

  • Kelly Davis

    I’ve always liked it when companies take this approach, but had never drawn the social media parallel – you’re so right, it’s very much the same idea. Nice post.

    Along the same lines, I love it when bookstores (the Strand in NYC does this) put employee recommendations/mini-reviews next to the books they like – very humanizing, and it often leads me to pick up a title I’d usually pass by.

  • http://twitter.com/samartinson/status/1139226809 Sarah Martinson

    Big brands tackling social media – and learning about transparency (it’s about time!) http://ow.ly/586

  • letstalkandchat

    If you’re looking for webinar software, then check out Evergreen Business System. Its perfect for marketers and let’s you automate the scheduling of your webinars, build your list, and even follow up with your webinar registrants. If you’re going to buy Evergreen Business System, then you might as well get a free bonus! So check out http://www.mikelmurphy.com/evergreen-business-system-bonus-webinar-software/ and you’ll get a great bonus that tells you how to create a webinar, what is a webinar, and a blueprint for making a successful one. None of the other people offering bonuses are offering this. Hurry in case the guy (some dude that worked on Lord of the RIngs) offering the bonus decides to pull it down.