But… “Who wears the pants?”

Relationship Status Series

As we know, the relationship between the entity (or business) and its consumers has progressed from one-way to two-way communication as a result of the internet and social media use in particular. You could say that when entities and consumers were in their one-way communication relationship that the entity ‘wore the pants’. So this raises an important point, with social media becoming the new intermediary in the relationship… Who wears the pants now?  

Social media has given a voice to the consumers, they have been given a platform where they can express their love, hate, questions and recommendations for a product, service and/or business. And as we’ve learnt from previous blog posts is that these expressions are not taken lightly, but rather as an invaluable resource of information to improve their business.

This suggests that the consumers or the various publics ‘wear the pants’, and in some cases they do. For instance the incident involving Kookai fashion boutiques and a less than happy customer who feels as if she was targeted for being Asian. It’s fairly common nowadays to see a dissatisfied customer do what any sensible and internet savvy person (you) would do, and write a long post on Facebook outlining the incident.

The result is almost always the same, to avoid a PR nightmare, is to respond urgently, apologise publicly and ensure measures are made so the consumer is satisfied once again.

Although in this world of social media the power has somewhat shifted over to consumers, that does not go to suggest that businesses are losing from this new-age relationship with their consumers. This is where Public Relations and the importance of knowing how to navigate the social media realm becomes imperative to business’ success, which is to maintain their relationship with their consumers while also attaining more.

So how do business’ do that?

In last couple of years there have been some great examples of social media PR campaigns, think…

A similar theme to all these campaigns is making it about you, the consumer. In one way or another you are involved, made to feel involved or made to feel that it was for you. These businesses have utilised social media to be on a personal level with its consumers, realising that for a successful relationship to form they need to start on a level playing field. Businesses need to go where the people are, and they are online.

Rather than pushing their products onto them, these successful campaigns are willingly giving the power to the people, or giving the people the pants to wear in the relationship. PR is no longer just about business, it has to be personal now too for it to stand a chance of lasting.

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