I’m excited to publish a new segment of our “Nuts & Bolts of Social Media” video series. In this interview, SAS’ Deb Orton, host of this series, talks with Bernie Brennan and Lori Schafer, co-authors of the recently released book Branded! How Retailers Engage Consumers with Social Media and Mobility.
While the amount of material made for a more detailed interview than we normally show, it’s so engaging and informative that shortening it would have been short-changing you. I hope you’ll agree.
The interview begins with Lori telling us that this book was written because “…our society is undergoing a change in communication that none of us have ever seen before,” and that they, Lori and Bernie, each saw an opportunity to educate the industry by telling a number of great strategic stories. The title, says Bernie, came about because “…retailers today are becoming brands,” and that’s the whole focus—because a well-branded retailer will bring in customers instead of consumers. What’s the difference? A customer is someone who returns regularly and has a relationship with a retailer. While a consumer does not. There is no mistaking which type of person buys more.
The interview moves to the topics of engagement and how the co-authors secured so many executive interviews. While talking about how our current digital/online era is different than the older dot-com era, Bernie summed it up by saying we’ve progressed “…from a one-way communication to an interactive communication that everyone is involved in.” And this is not something to be feared, the companies interviewed for Branded! each saw this interactive, the-customer-is-in-charge evolution as a positive progression.
Before wrapping up, the three talked about data and Analytics, a discussion I find particularly interesting. Bernie and Lori explained that retailers started with technology decades ago to streamline and standardize their processes – but the real value comes when you add analytics to bring insight to the data this technology captures and produces. Social media and mobility will be no different. We now see social media analytics solutions showing up to help us monitor online conversations and understand customer sentiment, allowing us to react to customer needs and desires faster than we’ve ever been able too. “We’re still at the beginning of this,” says Lori. “This is clearly going to be very big in the next couple of years.”
We hope you enjoy the video!