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Don't talk to Strangers!

November 9th, 2006 · 18 Comments · Branding, Marketing, Strategy

Images_8 The mantra of mothers everywhere.  "Don’t talk to strangers!."  At least it was the mantra of my mom.  When my daughter was little, it shifted to "stranger danger!"  But the message was the same.  We talk to the people we trust.  People we know.

It’s no different in marketing.  Consumers are fed up.  They are tired of being talked to.  They are tired of the unwanted invasion. They want to engage in a conversation.   With someone they trust.  Someone they know.

There’s a great book that talks all about this called Waiting for your Cat to Bark.  It’s an insightful read about how the inmates have taken over the prison!  The consumer truly is in charge today.  As we sit here and blog, we are living proof of that.   The Do Not Call list is living proof of that.  Spam filters — yup, living proof.

Valeria Maltoni, over at Conversation Agent, has a great post about "the consumer revolution."  In the post, she offers 10 great questions that speak from the customer’s voice about how they want to engage in that conversation.

So, here’s my question for you.   What are you doing to move your brand from stranger to trusted friend?  I fear if we don’t — we’re going to be very lonely because pretty soon, we’re not going to have anyone to talk to.

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18 Comments so far ↓

  • Valeria Maltoni

    Let’s not forget that we are also the consumers. Maybe we dig a little deeper for what would make us pay attention — we know what it is.

    When Fast Company magazine came out 11 years ago, they announced that “Work is Personal” and they started a movement. People really responded to the genuite impetus behind the headline.

    I see the evolution of brands to lovemarks. I also see the microeconomics of the Long Tail and niche markets as having a role in this conversation.

  • Drew McLellan

    Valeria,

    You are very correct– we are all consumers. And an understanding of our own buying (or at least listening) triggers will give us insights into the buying process. Heck, just being more mindful of the question will bring new insights!

    But…there is a real danger (we wrestle with clients on this one all the time) to over-generalize and make all consumers like us. While some are, many are not.

    Bottom line, we’re in some ways, the worst judge of how consumers preceive/interact with our brand. We simply cannot see ourselves as our consumers see us. We’re inside the bottle, trying to imagine what it looks like from the outside.

    That’s why we have to ask them, in my opinion. That’s a world I think most businesses are still in the dark about. But, that’s a whole new post for another day!

    I do love it when you stop by and engage in the conversation. Please do it often.

    Drew

  • uncesssib

    Santa came home earlier than usual, when his wife, Jeeto’s lover was still in the apartment. She hid her lover in a closet, and served dinner. As they ate, something rustled in the closet.
    ‘What’s that? ‘ Santa husband asked.
    ‘Nothing, darling. Just jackets.’
    After a while, they again heard some noise in the closet.
    ‘What the hell is that? ‘
    ‘I’m telling you, just jackets.’
    A few minutes later, the noise sounded once more.
    ‘I’ll check it, ‘ Santa said. ‘You’ll regret it if it’s not jackets.’
    Santa yanked the closet’s door open. Inside, he saw a man who held a pistol. Santa quietly closed the door, and said, ‘Indeed, jackets, darling.’

  • Sd card

    Hi, I am developing my site right now and I would like to translate and publish and a few more of your articles on my site, I hope you don’t mind. If you do – then I’ll just place links to them but I really needed them in Polish. Thanks!

  • Aukcje

    I wolud like too insert this article on my site. Can I? Thank you!

  • cat cat secret talk whisperer

    Judge Easterbrook, 56, was appointed to the Seventh Circuit by President Reagan in 1985. Like some of the biggest judicial celebrities– such as his colleague Judge Richard Posner, the inimitable Guido, and of course Justice Antonin Scalia– Judge Easterbrook is a former law school professor. (A Chicago correspondent points out that Judge Posner and Judge Easterbrook still teach one or two courses a year as lecturers at the law school. This reader also notes that Easterbrook, “a confirmed bachelor with a cat…

  • Opony

    Fantastic article. I insert this text on my site. Maybe someone write to you Drew. Best regards

  • nikon d700

    This site is interesting and very informative, nicely interface. Enjoyed browsing through the site.

  • Airline Bewerten

    We simply cannot see ourselves as our consumers see us. We’re inside the bottle, trying to imagine what it looks like from the outside.

  • Max Entin

    A great way to start a conversation with your potential customers is to give them something they will enjoy and would like to share with their friends or colleagues for free. You are not imposing or pushing the message on them – ypur message is spreading through their friends like a virus (because people passing it on from one to another). I wrote about viral marketing here link to maxentin.ca

  • Drew McLellan

    Max,

    Very true. People like to do business with people they know and trust. One way for them to get to know you is by extending your hand out first.

    Whether it’s a freebie, new information or something else, the point is, you gave first.

    They will remember that.

    Drew

  • freck

    i think consumers are also looking for new things, trying to satisfade their curiosity and buying new things, the only important point is give them easily adn if it possible cheap

  • kreditrechner

    Very true. People like to do business with people they know and trust. One way for them to get to know you is by extending your hand out first.

  • blog for money

    What a fantastic post. I never thought of it like that. Could really help with conversions. Thanks drew.

  • swingers

    (sorry for english) Talking to the strangers is not allways dangeours.
    sometimes kids became introvertic

  • kredyty

    ha ha ha!! very funny!:) I sent link to my workers… :-)

  • biurka

    Do you have this picture in more resolutions? I want to print poster like this. Thanks for article.

  • fathers day gifts

    Good customer service will do wonders. Gone are the days of scary thoughts if you will apply talking to strangers — your customers – and conscientiously get their feedback and turn it to positive result.

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