From Publishers Weekly
In June 2006, a man named Vincent Ferrari had a shockingly combative conversation with an AOL sales rep; he recorded it and posted it on YouTube. More than 62,827 viewings later, AOL's reputation was irretrievably damaged. In the digital age, disgruntled customers are now in the driver's seat, argues Blackshaw in this thoughtful and engaging book. With the advent of Consumerist.com and other venues where customers can blow off steam about bad service or deficient products, consumer generated media is a force to be reckoned with. Since consumers trust other consumers above companies or brands, a company's success depends on its credibility and its ability to gain the trust and support of Web-savvy, outspoken and influential customers. Through remarkable stories of mass consumer advocacy and the power of bloggers and ordinary Joes with an Internet connection and a bone to pick, Blackshaw advises executives on how to build credibility into their businesses through blogs, Web sites and video postings. Informative, energetic and entertaining, this is a marvelous argument for corporate responsibility and accountability, interesting to laypeople and instructive for executives. (July)
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Blackshaw, a consumer-behavior specialist and marketer, originates the phrase “consumer generated media,” or CGM, which identifies the new commercial relationship between businesses and consumers and includes all online media such as blogs, video- and photo-sharing sites, social-networking pages, online forums, message boards, and product review sites. In our new world of never-ending consumer-to-consumer “conversation,” we learn how companies should interpret, analyze, and respond to the messages of today’s consumers. Using stories from his experiences with notable Fortune 500 companies, Blackshaw emphasizes the need for companies to be attentive to consumers since they no longer control them. Noting that sooner or later every company will get into trouble, his troubleshooting tips include knowing who are the company’s key influencers, using the corporate blog as a rapid-response vehicle, and what to do when a simple apology is not enough to placate irate customers. The author stresses his conviction that our online world has turned credibility into a company’s most important asset. Excellent book. --Mary Whaley