Five Tips to Inspire a Social Customer Experience, Based on My Arugula Obsession

Lithium Alumni (Retired)

ErinLitho.pngErin Korogodsky is Lithium's social media quarterback.  Obsessed with social media, Erin has worked with Lithium clients to monitor their brands and brainstorm social strategy, with a focus on enlisting and engaging passionate fans.  She is a frequent blogger on the Lithosphere (as ErinKoro) and you can follow her on twitter at @erinkoro and one of the team on @LithiumTech.



My arugula obsession began at Giovanni's Pizza, a nifty little operation tucked inside of Club Deluxe.  It's not hard to tell why my friends and I frequent the place – who doesn't love a neighborhood spot with live music where they squeeze fresh grapefruit juice for greyhounds?  Giovanni makes pizza's in the back and always stops to say hi, kissing all the girls once on each cheek.


Giovanni's is thin, crispy and not over done in any way.  The one I love is called "Murder at Midnight" and is subtly adorned with tomato, mozzarella, prosciutto, arugula & shaved parmigiano.  Back up to the arugula.  Also known as "rocket" in the UK, Giovanni drops it on top of the pizza just before its served.  It's fresh and peppery.  I feel like Giovanni made it just for us, and actually he did.Photo Jul 06, 10 03 25 AM.jpg


And with that, I'm obsessed with arugula.  


So the other day, I was putting a salad together when I noticed a message on the inside of the arugula container.  Before that, I didn't know what brand I had bought at all - I just grabbed the one that says, "organic" and "pre-washed."  Turns out this one is Earthbound Farm and I'm in pretty good company.  (Full disclosure:  Earthbound Farm is not a Lithium customer and I didn't take this picture.  And I don't know Katy Holmes.  But that is Earthbound Farm Arugula in her basket - we are, like, so much alike!).  
Photo Jul 06, 11 19 56 AM.jpg


Back to the package itself - I found some lessons that we can all learn about creating a meaningful social customer experience:


1.  Answer Questions Your Customers Didn't Even Know They Had

This package says, "Why the New Package?"  You know what?  I didn't even know they had an old package.  I just grabbed his one off the shelf because I like arugula.  I have no brand affinity one way or the other but suddenly, I'm interested in why they made a change.  That is engaging - I kept reading.Photo Jul 06, 10 03 13 AM.jpg


2.  Show People You're Listening By What You Do

The reason for the new package?  "people did not like the shrinkbands (on the old package)..."  I'm not the person who suggested new packaging or even complained about the old package.  Yet, its meaningful to me that this brand listens to customer feedback.  When you use feedback and ideas from your customers and brand advocates, find a way to let people know.


3.  Tell People What You're Doing For Them

Whether its implicit or or explicit, find a way to tell your customers the latest thing you've done for them.  While this brand is clearly "listening" to customers, I can also feel good that by choosing this product, I'm doing my part to help the environment.  Not only is it easier to open and reseal, but its reducing the amount of plastic used overall.  These are all things the brand is doing for me.  How it makes me feel?  Meet Erin, budding Environmentalist.  Yeah!


4.  Invite People to Tell You What They Think (and give them a place to do it)

Starting with a phone number to call, this brand has offered three different ways to share feedback, the last of which is using a public facing Facebook page.  
Photo Jul 06, 10 46 36 AM.jpgClearly, the voice of the customer is really important to them - they're phone number is also directly placed on their Facebook Page too.   


5.  Anytime You Can Make People Feel Good About Your Brand, DO IT, Do It Often and Do It Everywhere

Packaging is only one place to give customers a great experience.  This all reminds me of another story I hear from my friend Lisa Trosien.  She's also known as the "Apartment Expert," touring all around the country sharing best practices around renting apartments and managing multifamily assets.  During one presentation, Lisa shared a story about being in a hotel, looking under the bed for a lost TV remote.  It was there that she found a note that looked like a little tent-place card.  It read, "Yes, we've cleaned under here too."  At that moment, Lisa wasn't questioning where they cleaned but how powerful was that message?   Not only did it make her smile but it reinforced her previous buying decision and gave her a story that was compelling enough to share. 


So - a few key take-aways:  When you're putting together content, are you only thinking about digital things like SEO, likes, fans and followers?  Or are you creating a true experience for your customer?  Did you give customers anything meaningful at all?  Did you think about the "what's in it for them" or give a reminder about what you've done for them lately?  


Find a way to make your customers seamlessly part of your brand and they'll be "social" about your brand, all on their own.  They may not necessarily intend to be social but experiences (good and bad) all beg to be shared.   Lastly,  and obviously worth repeating:  anytime you can make people feel good about your brand, do it, do it often and do it everywhere.

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