Disclaimer: the references below are based solely on Joe's brief presentation last night. I just picked up Flip The Funnel and hope to have a proper review up over the next couple of weeks.
As I stood and listened to Joe Jaffe wax poetic about his new book at the launch event last night, I was struck by a curious transition in the emerging industry we call Social _ _ _ _ _. Just one or two years ago, the "fun" verticals like CPG got most of the big attention executing fun promotions, campaigns and communities, while most service brands were largely ignored.
However, according to Joe and many others in this business, service is the new messaging. The rationale behind shift in focus is clear: customers care most about what we can do for them.
I have seen countless presentations that start the following misleading phrase, Customers want relationships with brands. Advocates want relationships with brands. Most brands have a relatively small customer : advocate ratio. The phrase should read Brands want relationships with customers, turning them into advocates.
All customers however, want to know that they are getting greater value. Giving away 25% More Product Free! generates instant value, but no loyalty and little advocacy. Hence, it does little to further the relationship. Service on the other hand, delivers greater value to the brand and is therefor a more efficient resource allocation for driving relationships.
And this completes the transition. Fun verticals have little opportunity for service. I hope to never need a soda brand's service. When I'm traveling however, I almost always need access and support with my airline.
This is where I respectfully disagree with Joe (as I understood him). Relationship equity is the new messaging. Service is a shortcut to that equity for service brands. Soda companies however, can generate much the same equity, they just need to refine their pitch, get creative.
Service focused brands will find incredible potential in social service as messaging.
Everyone else is going to need to creatively define their personality and brand as a customer facing relationship equity exchange.
Smart brands are going to do both.