A reader of my blog pointed me to this Engadget review of the Fujifilm Finepix Z5 as an interesting example of some my my writings about customer engagement on the Web with Hubs.
I found this review to be interesting, in that the first commenter, David, ostensibly could have been a power user of the Fuju product or even a company representative. The point being, by David participating in the conversation (in this case a review) and refuting an apparently false statement by the reviewer, he had a couple of positive effects for FujiFilm. The first is other users of this camera agreed strongly with David’s statement in the first comment and chimed in to that effect; and second is that this review with enhanced comments now serves as a positive endorsement for this product and for FujiFilm’s brand with respect to its technical innovation capabilities.
Being an Engadget review, this information will be amplified for those interested in point-and-shoot digital cameras. FujiFilm could have taken this a step further and pulled this post and comments into their Hub to share with their Hub members on their own site. This way other evangelists that may not be Engadget readers would find the post and could add their support for the FujiFilm product. The responses on the Hub would be broadcast back to Engadget, and it may even lead the reviewer to retract his comment or post a subsequent review favorable to FujiFilm on this point.
Moreover, with a Hub FujiFilm would be a more proactive participant in what is being said (correctly and incorrectly) about their products on the Web. Clearly these blog reviews are having an impact on purchase behavior (read the comments). We can make an assumption that David, the first commenter, was a FujiFilm representative and thus they are managing their messaging on the Web. However, in all likelihood David is just a power user, the kind that FujiFilm should be courting to a Hub so that they can amplify David’s voice the next time a false statement or negative review is made about one of their products.
The future of customer engagement on the Web is when companies are alerted to articles such as this one automatically, they can respond with a factual and appropriately positioned message, pull the conversation into their Hub, and can recruit their power users, or “evangelists”, to their Hub and have them provide the meat of the substance supporting the company and its products.
We are not far away from this future, but indeed more companies need to appreciate or be made aware of the purchase decisions that are being made outside of their purview due to user generated content and conversations on the Web. Engagement will be the only answer.