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The Power of Partnerships

3 April, 2014

Trish Wheaton

How Social Media and CSR Are Changing Customer Experience

NEW YORK — “Be prepared – you're going to hear the good, the bad and the ugly. You can't edit out the negative stuff,” said Michele Barlow, EVP of enterprise marketing at Bank of America. “We've learned a ton from the ugly. [It] demonstrates that you're a brand that cares if you take the feedback and act on it.”

Barlow was weighing in on “Digital and Social Media Breakthrough in Customer Experience,” a panel that was part of The Conference Board’s Customer Experience Conference. Moderated by Trish Wheaton (pictured), Wunderman’s chief marketing officer and Y&R managing partner, global new business, the panel discussed the importance of corporate social responsibility (CSR) to brands and the role social media plays in the mix.

“CSR has to be part of your DNA. It isn’t just something you can get in and out of,” Barlow added.

Joining Barlow and Wheaton were other major industry players from global brands that are leading the charge for CSR: Ginger Conlon, editor-in-chief, Direct Marketing News, and Chad Mitchell, senior director, digital communications, Walmart.

“Social definitely has the ability to amplify a message a lot quicker than in the days when you had to rely solely on word of mouth. And that’s both positive and negative,” said Mitchell. “What social media has done is set this expectation that people can take to [it to] ask for help and then you’re going to respond.” On the upside, social also empowers companies to know more quickly what a customer is thinking, without the need to wait for a survey.

According to Conlon, once you understand what consumers value about your brand, you’re on your way to making them love you—an especially important factor when embracing social.

“When customers are on the side of the brand, they'll stand up for you when there's a mess up,” Conlon said. “That's really powerful, when customers will join the conversation with you.”

“The combination of social and CSR is a brave new territory to go into,” Wheaton said. “The bad always finds its way through, but the good often does not. So if you’re doing it, say it!”

The panel was held at the Ritz-Carlton New York, Battery Park, on March 28, 2014.

About Wunderman
Advertising Age ranks Wunderman as the #1 global digital agency network. Founded by Lester Wunderman in 1958, Wunderman has 170 offices in 60 countries offering Brand Experience, Consumer Engagement, Data & Insights and World Health marketing solutions. Powered by complex analytics and strategic insight, creative content engages the consumer as participant, critic, creator and champion in always-on conversations to propel our clients’ growth. Best Buy, Citibank, Coca-Cola, Ford, Land Rover, Microsoft, Nokia, Novartis, Telefonica and leading local and regional brands are among them. Wunderman is a member of WPP (NASDAQ:WPPGY) and part of Young & Rubicam Group. For more information:

Sarah Chua, +1-212-941-3127

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