This post is a response to a post on Sage’s ACT! Leadership Blog
The question was: How do you protect the value of your brand when "the creation of value is in the eyes of the consumers?"
Every product will have unhappy users or even competitors posting on-line about them. This is unavoidable, if you don't have any problems, either the product does nothing or you don't have very many users :-)
The most important focus in the current market is for the vendor to properly engage and respond to their users. The number of complaining ACT! consumers has dropped since Sage North America has started talking to their users via their Community Site – something I blogged about previously
The new wave of consumers, the "Millennial generation" (born 1982-2002), are starting to be a larger percentage of the market. But they are much more likely to look for product information and references from on-site forums than vendor sites. The power of communications is in the control of these users and it is necessary to realise this in-order to attract, serve and retain users in this new market.
In these times of social media, it is necessary to meet the user base where they choose, not simply hope they will come to you. It also requires doing regular searches of the most common sites (like Twitter) for comments (positive or negative) and actually respond to show that they are being listened to.
With the global effect of the internet not fitting into the regionalisation that Sage's corporate structure uses, it is also necessary to encourage the regional OpCos to step up... to take part on this site, to create their own blogs and Twitter accounts. I have been speaking to Aldo in the Sage AU office about providing them some training in social media and helping them get up to speed with efficient ways to utilise these technologies. But they don't always have the resources necessary. Maybe this is one area that Sage Global can assist the regions in?
These steps should not just be looked at to "protect the brand" but, if done correctly, they can be a significant step in enhancing that brand.
This view has additional implications for Sage. As users of their three CRM products (ACT!, SageCRM and SalesLogix) their own user base will be looking for leadership in this area from Sage. It has certainly been positive to hear that Sage is working at integrating social media into the products so that their users will be able to better monitor and enhance their own brand’s reputation in the market.