Let's talk. The conversation company.

A couple of months ago I read an inspiring book called "The Conversation Company" written by Steven Van Belleghem. I would like today to share some of the most interesting reflections.

In the introduction the author says that everyone in an organization can be a marketeer. I fully agree with that statement. If we accept that every company need to give consumers a pleasing experience, exceed their expectations and listen to their ideas we also should accept that the marketing department cannot do all this by itself. In this sense every single person in the organization becomes a potential marketeer because every employee is jointly responsible for the experience of the consumer.

At this point he highlights the importance of generating relevant conversations between the brand and its stakeholders. To handle this complex context  Steven Van Belleghem proposes to introduce the figure of the conversation manager who should be able to transform traditional advertising into conversations about the brand.

One of the most important challenges for this new role is to ensure the organization takes advantage of the potential of the staff in terms of conversation generation. This is a step further on the use of every employee as a brand ambassador. “The more people in your company are plugged into the outside world, the better you will be able fully to exploit your conversation potential” says Van Belleghem.

So what’s next? Obviously “if you can find the right people (positive, reliable, expert, etc.) to talk about your company in the right way (relevant content) you will always be more successful than the companies that are never talked about or are talked about by the wrong people in the wrong way”.

And something else: regarding social media you need a concrete strategy, clear planning and tight implementation.

Where to start? Every company has an average of 28% of satisfied customers who never talked about the company. So look for them and start having relevant conversations with them (ie about their personal experience of your products and services). As we did before with our staff it’s all about transforming your customers into ambassadors (and rewardind them as such).  “Your staff provide the content and your customers provide the experience”.

To achieve all these goals the author suggests an implementation model based on three stages (which at the same time have their own stages). They are very briefly:

  • The build-up of knowledge (including workshops which stimulates the desire of participants to work at the conversation potential of their company  and a conversation guide or a social media policy)
  • Pilot projects (defining pilot projects on the basis of impact and feasibility)
  • Integration and the lever effect (making the 4 Cs –customer experience, conversations, content management and collaboration- fully operational and working with new success indicators).

Finally and as a reminder of the different phases to be developed include here the decalogue of projects suggested by the author of the book:

  • Build up the required levels of knowledge
  • Don’t postpone the difficult conversations
  • Provide the right infraestructure
  • Appoint a conversation manager
  • Define pilot projects on the basis of impact and feasibility
  • Create a listening culture
  • Make the four Cs fully operational
  • Search consciously for the lever effect
  • Implement agile management
  • Work with new success indicators

In summary I strongly recommend reading this book to all those who believe in the power of the conversations as a way to increase the level of engagement of a brand.