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Empowering Employees to Serve Empowered Consumers is Critical to Brands

Last week I attended the Forrester Consumer Forum in Chicago.  The event centered on the idea that only Empowered employees can successfully serve Empowered customers – also a main theme of research firm’s new book Empowered written by Josh Bernoff, Coauthor of Groundswell and Senior Vice President of Idea Development at Forrester Research and Ted Schadler, Vice President and Principal Analyst in Forrester’s IT Research Group.  The event was full of insightful presentations from lead analysts and brands such as Vail Resorts, Kellogg’s, ESPN, and Southwest  Airlines.  Some of the key takeaways from these presentations were:

  • EmpoweredCustomers are powered by:
    • Smart phones and mobile devices
    • Cloud computing and services
    • Pervasive video
    • Social media and technologies

  • Empowered Employees need to be H.E.R.O.s – Highly Empowered and Resourceful Operative to successfully respond to Empowered Consumers.  This means employees need to be free to use technology to help customers and experiment with new ideas, as well as have tools and councils to collaborate and share best practices


  • Empowered customers are now a channel that doesn’t stop at the purchase end of the sales funnel – a customer’s post sales experience if supported well and Empowered can turn them into powerful brand influencers that increase additional sales


  • You need to build a bridge to IT since eventually they will show up, security and enterprise scalability becomes increasingly important in the Empowered era and they will be with the organization long-term.  Kellogg’s provided a great example of this – they created a digital marketing IT group that focuses solely on socially and digitally enabling all of Kellogg’s brands.


  • A consistent customer experience across all social, Web and mobile channels is critical to when it comes to “Ubiquitously Connected Consumers.” For example, a Web application should deliver the same user experience whether it is viewed on a Website, iPad or Android phone.  The KRAFT ifood assistant provides a great illustration.

There were so many great leanings from this event; the above only captures a few of them.  I look forward to learning more from Forrester about the best ways for companies to embrace the Empowered era.

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