Conversations are key

Have you seen the latest product launch from Birds Eye called Mashtags? They\’re made from British potatoes and feature shapes including \’the iconic hashtag, @ symbols and emoticons\’.\"mashtags\"

This got me thinking on a number of fronts and I found it really interesting. Firstly, with two young daughters born in 2000 and beyond, clearly part of the emerging Generation Z and growing up in the \’i-age\’, they loved the idea. Why? Because they could relate to it and make the link directly between food and something they love. Yes, we also have fussy eaters!

Their world revolves around social media, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and Facebook (to name but a few). They are better connected, more informed (of things they\’re interested in) and more transparent in the way they communicate than any generation that went before them. The genius in Mashtags is that it distracts kids from the mundane task of eating, gives them a reason to try something and creates significant pull from a very influential lobbying group on the spending patterns of the household wallet or purse. Just good marketing, I agree, but that brings me on to my second point.

It also demonstrates a great example of customer-driven innovation; know your market, know their interests (not practical needs) and find a way of tapping into the conversation. It\’s conversation that makes the world go round and in this connected age when we are conversing in bit-size chunks of 140 characters, Birds Eye has created the opportunity for that conversation to run and run.

I know my children will create words, pics and messages on their plates and Tweet them, and others will do the same. The \’conversation\’ will run and run, but more importantly the conversation will take advantage of relationships that exist, and it\’s through relationships that the most powerful sales advocates are made.

This is my third point. We are interacting at three levels when we buy and sell goods and services:

  • the transactional level
  • the conversational level
  • the relationship level.

With modern technology and attitudes, more and more is pushed towards the transactional. This robs us of building relationships, as providers/suppliers, of creating loyalty, longevity and trust, which are all key ingredients in building a successful business of any sort.

So, in summary:

  1. How are you tapping in to your customers\’ interests (not needs) because that\’s what they will want to talk about?
  2. How are you engaging in conversations at every level with every medium to build relationships rather than just transacting?


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