I was sent a link to a Michael Bublé video the other day. I’m not a big fan of his singing – though I readily admit he has a great voice and it makes for decent background music. What I saw surprised the heck out of me and made me rethink my impression of him. It also made me think a lot about what I and others in marketing are trying to teach brands about listening. We focus a lot on the how and even the when, but we often miss out the why. We assume that brands want to listen, or the brands assume that they have to listen because bad things are being said. Take a moment to watch the video and then I’ll share what Michael Bublé reminded me about listening.
The first thing that struck me was the fact that Michael Bublé stopped the show to listen to this mother heckling him from the audience. He could easily have had her removed by security. In terms of brands that would equate to ignoring the unhappy customer who tweets about you – the way 70% of brands currently do – see this post from Jay Baer on that topic.
Instead he chose to stop the show (business as normal) and sit down and listen to what this mother and fan was trying to say. He points out that he is a singer, he turns up and thousands of people pay to listen to him (reminding the customer of what business he is actually in) but he allows her to continue with the story.
The mother pleads to have her son be allowed to sing on stage with Michael Bublé (change the way you do things to help me, the customer). Having heard her story, he decides to allow it (trying a new approach with customers). His expectations are no doubt fairly low, after all, all mothers think their sons are wonderful (brands don’t expect customers to bring much value to the discussion). What he gets is a huge surprise, one that evokes the “Holy Shitballs Mom” response (Why didn’t we listen to our customers before?).
At the end of the video Michael Bublé states in a half joking way that he has four years before the young man he just brought on stage will kill his career by winning a TV Show (if brands don’t continue to change based on customer feedback they will become irrelevant).
The point is that listening without knowing why is pointless. You can have all the tools you like at your disposal, have in place all the processes but if you aren’t prepared for the surprise that customers will bring to your brand then perhaps you would be better off not listening at all.
What “Holy Shitballs” moments have you seen with brands?