What is a conversation?
Can you define a “conversation”? And if you can, who decides which is the “right” definition?
Can you have a conversation without being engaged with who you are talking to? Do consumers care if you’re engaged, or if you’re transparent and authentic? Is it a mix?
Is the conversation directed, or guided, or initiated? Do you have to choose one in order to be part of the dance between brand and consumer?
Should the control for the type of conversation rest solely with the consumer?
I ask these questions because recently there have been attempts to define what is a conversation, what is not, and it all seems to me to be a waste of energy. I touched on this before in my post on blogging cornerstones, and the same issues keep popping up surrounding the “correct” way to interact.
A conversation in my opinion occurs when a brand initiates, listens and responds (or just listens and responds) to their customer or prospect (or in other words, engages with them). It doesn’t matter if the company initiates the conversation by trying to build word-of-mouth around a product (especially if the product is exceptional), sends out relevant and solicited communications, joins a social networking site, or if the CEO starts a blog and solicits open feedback. It’s all about interacting and engaging with consumers. The conversation happens as they want it to, when they want it to, and in whatever medium they choose to engage in.
If the consumer is in control, then they get to define the terms…