From adoption to adaption

Tracey Follows

Service brands in particular need to embrace the dawning of an era of 'adaption' through collaboration with consumers, exemplified by brands such as Starbucks, Best Buy, Zappos and AT&T

Complaints about brands by dissatisfied consumers, sent in the form of a letter to a company's PO Box, were once privy only to the sender and recipient. Thanks to social media, and all things webby, those complaints (along with positive suggestions and ideas) are now transparent for all to see.

Many brands have chosen to encourage this kind of consumer participation in their communications. The likes of T-Mobile's 'Dance' executions and Walker's 'Do us a flavour' and the recent Windows7 TV campaign, as well as Pepsi's 'Refresh' project online, are some of the more recent and varied examples.

Some brands are using social media tools to divert customer service enquiries to a less costly, more human, more responsive medium. Zappos and Best Buy are new, formidable brands in the service arena. The former with the lengths it goes to, tirelessly helping customers to find exactly what they're looking for in shoes; the latter with its 2,000-plus Twelpforce of genuinely dedicated employees all tweeting away to answer queries from customers and prospects alike, on Twitter.