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Commercial Intimacy

Heart on your sleeve or in your pocket?

Gill Coltart July 2011

Like never before, customers are being exposed to the head and heart of the businesses they buy from – or at least the market’s view of it – thanks to the proliferation of communications channels that give equal voice to an individual and an organisation. Beyond specifications or pricing detail of a product, potential buyers are faced with weighing up the opinions of other customers on any manner of related subject – not least the ethics, corporate citizenship, legal history, financial integrity – of the organisation they’re looking to purchase from. The backlash on Adidas by Polish graffiti artists and formation of the Adisucks facebook page is a fantastic example.

All well and good we say – power to those who invest in a clear corporate conscience. Transparency and openness is a good thing.

But the longer term implications are worth pondering. Does the threat of ambush by the masses really encourage greater integrity by corporates – or does it simply stifle innovation and limit boundary pushing? Worse still, does it actually perpetuate a greater propensity for guarded, whitewashed communications by organisations to avoid a social media headache?

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