In case you didn’t know, I am teaching a social business class at San Jose State University. The curriculum is fairly straightforward. We first talk about the influence of the social customer. Then, we shift to how brands are finding, engaging and delighting customers online. We will conclude with the operational side of social media (i.e. social business) which encompasses leadership, change management, process design, collaboration, technology, etc.
A few weeks back, we were discussing examples of how some brands are “listening” to the voice of the customer and taking action; while other brands are completely absent from the conversation.
One of the weekly assignments in class every week is to write a blog post about a key insight from the lecture or something interesting that a student learned from the reading assignment. One student, Marco Henry Negrete, wrote about his personal experience with Brooks Brothers, one of the oldest men’s clothing retailers in the United States. In a post titled, “Social Media Excellence from Brooks Brothers,” Marco highlighted his past experiences with the brand, specifically on Twitter. Shortly thereafter, someone from Brooks Brothers reached out to him and asked him for his contact info. And a few days later, a package arrived in the mail with a hand written note and a really sharp tie that matched Marco’s fraternity colors (Delta Sigma Phi, Gamma Epsilon Chapter at San Jose State University.) Here is a video or Marco explaining his experience.
A few observations.
First, thank you Brooks Brothers for being great stewards of “real” and “human” brand engagement and proving my point(s) in class. Secondly, whoever sent Marco the tie had to spend ample time researching him, his interests and his fraternity. This is an excellent example of a brand that’s creating customer advocacy through reciprocal altruism. Lastly, Marco is a student. He is not a “social media expert, guru, ninja, whatever” – although he may very well be in the near future. He’s not an influencer (the WAY most define influencer in this space) – although he does influence me as well as the other students in class. This example shows that Brooks Brothers cares about the community, its customers and is serious about turning friends, fans and followers into customer advocates.
Well done Brooks Brothers. I think I’ll be visiting your store at Santana Row this weekend. I am in need of some new threads.