Luke Brynley-Jones

About Luke Brynley-Jones

What’s the point of relationship marketing?

What have Ford Retail, Maersk and Boden all got in common? (Clue: it’s got nothing to do with cars, shipping or clothes).

You might have seen that Ford Retail UK has just launched a range of nail varnishes based on the colours of their latest Ford Fiesta.

The colours themselves, which include Hot Magenta and Candy Blue, might not be to your taste, but if you work in social media, you’re probably already wondering why you didn’t think of the idea first.

On the other hand, if you don’t work in social media, chances are you’re screwing up your eyes and mumbling: “why in heavenly tarnations would Ford Retail do such a thing?” And that’s before you’ve even seen the colours.

I imagine quite a few of Ford Retail’s senior executives have also questioned exactly how green nail-varnish is supposed to convince people to buy a new car.

Social media engagement is a tactic, not a strategy

While most brands are focused on increasing social media engagement, the smart ones are looking beyond Likes, towards building genuine, long-term relationships with their customers.

I was joined in a webinar last week by Eugenie Gijsberts from Dutch bank, ABN AMRO.  

it’s one of Holland’s largest financial institutions and Eugenie, sounding remarkably genial for someone at the sharp end of corporate communications, is responsible for managing the company’s social customer services.

Social customer service: the challenge for brands in 2013

In recent years social customer service has endured crises and successes in equal measure. Here’s a quick evaluation of where we are today, with some pointers for the future.

For an increasing number of people, social media is the first place they turn when they experience a problem.

Fewer than 50% of companies are actively responding to these enquiries and many of those are using cost-cutting copy and paste tactics, which is exactly what call centres were criticised for.

We need to invest in finding ways of supporting customers more effectively on the channel of their choice and ensuring a consistent customer service experience across all service channels. 

Social media quality: the forgotten metric?

Businesses have always struggled to measure quality. The challenge in social media is no better. In fact, it’s considerably worse. 

Even the best attempts at measuring quality of a customer relationship, such as Net Promoter Score (NPS), rely on numbers, in the case of NPS a ranking from one to 10, and this has always seemed somehow inadequate to convey the different values and feelings involved. 

Google has done a reasonable job of measuring the quality of content published online and ranking it accordingly, yet if you search for “social media quality” you’ll be presented with a list of deeply mediocre, SEO-focused blog posts on the topic.

Perhaps Google’s Authorship will fix this, but the challenge is clear.

So what does quality mean in the context of social media?