dinsdag 3 maart 2009

Ambient customer intimacy

Today I was watching a video on ideasproject.com. The video starred the social media innovator Laura Fitton and she raised the term ‘ambient intimacy’. The term, apparently raised by Leisa Reichelt, describes how new technologies, such as Twitter, strengthen ties between people in a way that previousely was not possible:

Ambient intimacy is about being able to keep in touch with people with a level of regularity and intimacy that you wouldn’t usually have access to, because of time and space conspire to make it impossible’ (http://www.slideshare.net/leisa/ambient-intimacy)

Yesterday I was impressed by the way Skittles.com embraced Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Youtube and Wikipedia. It is a strong example of how a brand puts social media at the forefront! I would like to call this ‘ambient customer intimacy’. It opens up new possibilities of companies to be more intimate with their stakeholders. Especially in the B2C domain social media tools open up new ways of keeping in touch with your customers.

Ambient customer intimacy refers to the ability to leverage social media in such a way that customer intimacy emerges bottom-up. Skittles, for example, just created the platform, or unified various social media surrounding their brand. By unifying these media under the skittles.com umbrella they are strengthening the relationship with their stakeholders. The large number of twitter feeds mentioning skittles is already an indicator that they strengthen the ties between people associating themselves with the skittles brand.

Ambient customer intimacy furthermore provides food for thought of re-examining the customer intimacy definition of ‘people collaborating in a structured and customer centric way to create customer value and achieve results’. Especially, the structured part: ‘Every decision or every contact moment should be governed by processes that are designed with a customer focus. These processes structure the way people work together and prevent that customer related decisions are out of sync with each other.’ This definition implies top-down governance and imposed ways of handling customer related activities. Ambient customer intimacy refers to a new dimension where structure is not governed top-down but is facilitated by the community.

Any other examples of companies with an ambient customer intimacy?

2 opmerkingen:

  1. Recently, I have more examples of when communities (consumers) used social media as a way to speak to companies versus companies using "ambient marketing." Cases such as Pepsi's Tropicana come to mind, whereby the consumers rejected the company's logo change via the online protest. For companies, what I have observed is that it still remains challenging to implement "ambient marketing" effectively. Ad agencies are still not yet well equipped to make a fully integrated media mix & plan that sells well to management (esp if not versed in social media). Secondly, what objective benchmarks are there to convince the rational manager? Finally, the organization cannot rely on the individual in the internet dept (if there is one) to follow all the conversations, it must be a company affair.

  2. Hi Minter, agree, the Tropicana is an excellent example how communities show their emotional relationship with a product; new technologies empower individuals to unite and express their opinion. thanks for your remark.