Give your customers a voice!

Posted by Steve Kleber on Sep 23, 2010

Welcome to the Kleber & Associates blog! Give your customers a voice!  Here’s the latest. 

Consumer-focused marketing like social media is growing exponentially as traditional marketing takes a big leap into the digital world. Can you imagine life without Facebook or mobile applications that allow seemingly outrageous ideas to become a reality? Even checking in for a flight via mobile phone is considered normal today. I think it’s safe to say that we’ve come a long way.

One thing that has stayed the same is the true focus of marketing: the customer. Going back to the basics, businesses spend money on marketing to gain customers. More customers mean more money, which is the goal, right? From the beginning of consumerism, positive customer interactions were the main focus for businesses because a happy customer led to word-of-mouth referrals and more business. Marketing’s goal hasn’t changed; it’s how we get there that’s different.

Looking back at the Grateful Dead’s approach to marketing, many businesses want to feel closer to their fans or customers by getting them involved in the way they market themselves now and in the future. Just like the Grateful Dead included fan-created artwork on posters and even on album covers, businesses are giving customers a real voice nowadays. And they’re using the newest digital technology to do it.

One company diving right in is Chiquita. With a marketing mission that aims to get customers involved, the banana distributor asked consumers to design customized adaptations of its iconic, 50-year-old blue product sticker. From a group of 50 voted upon finalists, 18 grand prize winners will ultimately be featured on bananas nationwide.

The contest is the latest campaign on, which drew more than 500,000 visitors in its first six months. The site offers fun tools that engage users by allowing them to create customized face stickers, play a “Banana Boogie Battle” video game, create and post Chiquita-themed videos, and blog with other fans.

Other companies like the 100-year-old Knoll Bouillon are following suit with consumer-generated content on its product labels in the form of recipes. Similarly, Mountain Dew is interacting with its customers and supporting local skate shops at the same time with new can designs.

What do consumer-influenced labels mean for the relationship between businesses and their customers? It means that businesses form a deeper relationship and get to know the people who are using their products everyday. It’s still all about them and probably always will be.

This entry was posted by Steve Kleber on Thursday, September 23rd, 2010 at 11:45 am and is filed under Brand Management, Marketing. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.