Today’s brands face an apparent choice between two evils: continue betting on their increasingly ineffective advertising or put blind faith in the supposedly mystical power of social media, where “likes” stand in for transactions and a mass audience is maddeningly elusive. There has to be a better way . . .
As Lennon and McCartney wrote a half century ago, money can’t buy you love. But in today’s world, where people have become desensitized—even disillusioned—by ad campaigns and marketing slogans, that maxim needs an update: Money can’t even buy you like.
That’s because we’ve entered the “Relationship Era,” where the only path for businesses seeking long-term success is to create authentic customer relationships. Not through hip social media promotions, viral videos or blizzards of micro-targeted online ads. Those tactics, which simply disguise old ways of thinking with new technology, just don’t work in the long run.
So what does work in this bewildering new era? Honesty. Transparency. Shared values. A purpose beyond profit. Sure you still need a high-quality product or service to offer, but that’s not enough. Now that people can easily discover everything that’s ever been said about your brand, you can’t manipulate, seduce, persuade, flatter or entertain them into loyalty. You have to treat them like flesh-and-blood human beings, not abstract consumers or data points on a spreadsheet.
It may sound like the woo-woo language of self-help books and inspirational wall posters. But as Garfield and Levy show in this audiobook, it’s the deadly serious reality of business in the 2010s. It’s why General Motors abandoned its $10 million annual budget for Facebook ads, and why some brands have hurt themselves badly on social media by nagging, interrupting, abusing and generally ticking off their customers.
Blending powerful new research, fascinating examples and practical advice, Garfield and Levy show how any company can thrive in the Relationship Era.