Modern brand principle #4: Listen hard, then take action
The old adage that the customer is always right is a farce. They aren’t always right. Sometimes they don’t know what they need or wish for next, or can’t articulate it. But what customers can say is how they feel, what motivates them and what stands out. Customers must always be listened to. Listening allows you to defuse difficult situations and helps ensure that when you do act, it resonates and lands with your customers. But what does it mean to listen first and then take action? In this blog we explore how two companies listen. One listens to inspire its creation and then fuels listening into its brand. The other listens to the market and understands what its audience wants.
Bumble, a women-centric dating app, allows women to make the first move to introduce themselves to a date. Its founder and former Tinder executive Whitney Wolfe Herd, built the company based on a dilemma she observed: the lack of online accountability and lack of kindness in dating. Whitney realized this dilemma when she started listening to how people talked about her during her exit from Tinder. She was publicly attacked online and in the press, which sent her into a depression. From that moment, she decided to act or in her words “create.” She said to herself, “I can start something right now, I can have an impact and I can change what I hate that I see in the world.” With this realization came the birth of Bumble, built to give women a voice online it has a strict “Bee Nice or Leave” policy. From the ground up, Whitney built Bumble on listening to a need in the market and acted to fundamentally fix a problem. Since its inception in 2014, Bumble has become one of the most successful dating apps with an estimated revenue of $100 million. To this day, the company directly listens to customers to make sure users maintain its “Bee Nice or Leave” policy. Strict adherence to this policy is what many credit as a core differentiator for the company. Bumble also actively ensures users abide by its brand and what it stands for. If you violate Bumble policies, see Dylan, then you’re off the platform. That is listening first and then acting. Whitney listened to a major dilemma she personally felt, realized a systemic problem and acted to change it. Due to her vision, 34 million users now have a safe place to date.
Modern brands are created by listening. Listening is a core way to resonate with audiences.
Lego, the 86-year-old toy company, now has to compete with new entertainment options for kids such as YouTube, video games and mobile apps. Lego knew this because it listens to the market and observes kids’ behavior. By listening to market research, The Lego Movie was born. Earning $469 million at the box office, the movie was a smash hit because it met kids in a medium they wanted, in addition to a flawless execution – which is really surpassing expectations. This successful approach to listening allowed Lego, according to the then CEO, to have one of its best years following the release of the movie.
Modern brands listen to understand their audiences and then take action to surpass their expectations.
Bumble and Lego listen in different ways, but both did it with the goal of driving change. But how did they do it? For Bumble, its founder listened to a cultural problem online and acted to fight against that. Then, Bumble created a product experience, customer service and culture to make sure its paying attention to the community of users and really treating them as co-owners of the brand. For Lego, it means being culturally aware and finding bridges to connect its toy brand with other forms of entertainment. Without listening, these opportunities to create, grow and solidify would be lost.
That is why we believe Modern Brands listen and encourage you to find the best way to tap into your audiences.
If you have any thoughts or examples of modern brands listening, we would love to hear from you!