Your brand is the lasting definition and impression your customers retain of your company. This thought is based on their cumulative experience of your impersonal (media, web, public, relations) and personal (all customer touch points via direct, web, mail, telephone or other) marketing efforts. You will succeed by appealing to your customers emotional side. Building a positive image and generating a likable affiliation with your brand will help to improve your customers satisfaction: namely their perception, preference, usage, and loyalty. This in turn will help drive your market share, sales, and profits. By using social utilities you are better positioned to: obtain and act on customer feedback and suggestions, create awareness via subtle messaging, and continually keep your customers engaged and informed by having an online and offline community for their voice to be heard. This in turn will improve your brand equity. Brand equity is, as defined by any marketing textbook, the additional cost that consumers are willing to pay just to acquire your brand, because your brand and the total experience it delivers is far superior to your competitors; the greater your brand equity, the greater your value. Social utilities really are excellent tools if used properly.
“…Create a sense of shared ownership and participation amongst customers themselves. The more people you invite to share your companies personality, the more you enable them to share their ideas with one another, the greater their stake in what your company does and the more invested they become in its success (unleash a whole lot of participation).”
“Customers aren’t just asked to use the good or service, they’re encouraged to use it, they’re invited individually and collectively, to define the product or service, to shape it’s identity, to exercise their voice in the brands personality and message. Companies shouldn’t preach to customers about the virtues of the brand, they should unleash the energy and creativity of its customers to give the brand its virtues.” – Mavericks At Work
Yelp has been Yelped. But they stand behind Yelpers' right to say what they want, as long as it's true. (Authors are solely responsible for their reviews. That should help the company avoid run-ins with angry restaurateurs, but one messy lawsuit would surely curb Yelpers' enthusiasm.) Most reviews are positive - 85% are three stars or more. Stoppelman thinks that's because people would rather write about great experiences. As for the harsh critiques, Stoppelman considers them an opportunity for a business owner to start a conversation. "Your customers are out there saying things about you, whether it's on Yelp or on some blog," he says. " The faster you can fix problems, the better you're going to do. Customer service is the new marketing."