Ever since the dot.com revolution, businesses have been playing catch-up to grab the attention of their consumers. What started with point-of-sale, hand-shaking interactions at Mom & Pop shops in local communities has evolved into a cyber market of digital demand and instant gratification. People are busier, there’s less time in the day, and now more than ever, we need ways to draw people in who barely have enough time to breathe, into our marketable bubbles so we can sell them on the new, greatest, can’t-live-without-it, objects of modern convenience.
So what works? How do you attract an audience that already has hundreds of channels of advertisements and promotional offers in the papers every week from anything from dollar store dishes to high-end, luxury gold-plated toilets? You get connected. Internet, social media, if there’s a buzz you want to be the bee. It’s not enough to offer exceptional customer service anymore. You have to be on the tips of the tongues of everyone out there. And if you’re selling an image, you can’t just be interesting for a week and expect your following to remain. You need to soak in the limelight for so long your rivals are permanently left in the dark. You need to take your business online reputation management seriously!
Many businesses, celebrities, and other social moguls have used networking outlets like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even their own websites to garner free publicity and cement their names into the public domain. These are wonderful vehicles to help launch careers and increase sales. There are companies out there that didn’t embrace technology and paid the price like Borders & Blockbuster video. Borders couldn’t compete with online, cheaper prices and Blockbuster missed the opportunity to give their customers want they wanted, which paved the way for Netflix with their streaming options, and Redbox with their affordable one-day rentals.
So for those who did feel the pulse of the economy, who paid attention to future tech-talk, and retrofitted their business models into marketing online, is that enough? Well as Target has recently found out, it’s not. While it’s admirable for a company to take a stand on what it believes to be right, there can be serious repressions that affect financials if your public relations team misses the mark. After announcing their updated bathroom policies, they took an initial 20 point hit on their stock. While they dismissed the correlation and blamed it on the seasonal slump, it’s hard to ignore what a petition of over a million people say.