In episode 30 of hit HBO series “Curb Your Enthusiasm” Larry David hires a bald chef for his restaurant (see above clip). Larry is accused of giving bald people preferential treatment by Jeff Garlin his manager.
In response Larry accuses Jeff of giving fat people preferential treatment.
After watching this show I thought about how people, in addition to Jeff and Larry, have an affinity for people who look like them. And it’s true. Most of us want to hang out with people that have a common denominator with us. It’s of course not always physical appearance.
After I left the summit I thought more about why people want to be sold to someone like them, and how that relates to trust. On the airplane ride home I came across an older (but still relevant) article from Nielsen featuring a survey of 24,000 internet consumers from 50 countries.
What Nielsen found is ninety percent of consumers trust recommendations from people they know.
I Trust Someone Like Me
So there might be some truth to Larry and Jeff’s perception of each other. We do gravitate toward “someone like me.” Makes sense. Why? I assume that you are your own number one. Who do you trust the most? Hopefully yourself! And this DOES NOT MEAN someone with the same cultural or religious background that I have. It just means someone I identify with–most of my friends are not from the same demographic as I am.
Co-Creation of Value and the Mercedes That Runs on Corn Oil
And yes you are nodding your heads saying “yah yah Blake, we’ve read about the trust barometer.” But so few companies have truly put their money where their mouth is. We as an industry, haven’t made peace with the new reality of an increasingly social customer. Social media will bring a seismic shift to the “management of the customer life cycle.” It’s important for the folks behind big brands to have their ear to the ground.
Companies need to listen for innovative ways customers are using their products.
For example watch this video below. I am sure these local farmers and grocers were shocked when their customer drove up to their parking lot n a car powered by rapeseed (also known as Brassica napus), soybean, mustard, flax, sunflower, canola, palm oil, waste vegetable oils and alcohol.
Who knew that natural crops could be turned into Biodiesel Fuel? I’m sure that the guy from this video didn’t initially buy alcohol to fuel up his 1500 dollar Mercedes.
While most of you who found this article on twitter know it’s not enough to have a “google alert” on a product or brand, our customers and the brands we shop haven’t clued in.
Brands need to be out scavenging the beautiful desert that is the world-wide-web. The good news is we no longer have to go to the ends of the earth to find out how products and services are being used.
Companies who listen can accrue a real wealth of business intelligence. And it’s only a click away.