Changing the 10/80/10 rule in online communication
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Have you heard of the 10/80/10 rule for stakeholders? It basically means that at any given time:
- 10 percent of people will be unhappy, dislike or not engaged with your brand
- 80 percent of people will have neutral feelings towards your brand, but are satisfied
- 10 percent of people are extremely happy with your brand and feel a strong connection
Traditional marketing taught us (or at least me) that we need to focus the majority of our attention on the 80 percent. Part of the reason is that there’s a margin of 7-10 percent of people who will just never be happy with you. The time and energy spent to move them into the neutral or happy categories is wasted and neglects your other audiences.
This rule needs to be modified because of the emergence of online dialogue and social media (assuming you’re participating in this space).
The majority of time should be spent with the happy 10 percent and a plan created for how to interact publicly with the unhappy 10 percent.
The life cycle of your brand and customer interaction takes place in a few, specific ways:
(This concept was inspired by Moveo, an integrated branding firm.)
If we look at the life cycle of a brand (moving clockwise in the image) and where social media integrates, it primarily affects: Awareness, Consideration, Preference and Recommend.
Since we’re talking about stakeholders who are already aware, this really impacts the remaining three.
And here is where it gets fun.
If you have 100,000 stakeholders online and 10,000 are happy, are they saying so? They become your credible third-party endorsement for the world to see (and it’s great if that 80 percent notices). They become your “Recommend” champions. Find them, engage them. Share what you find and make sure that includes the 80 percent!
That group of 10,000 unhappy may or may not say so online. I said at the beginning of the post that 7-10 percent of people will just never be happy, that doesn’t mean an unhappy comment online falls into this category. You may have fallen out of good graces with someone, but it doesn’t mean they can’t be won back. Much of the time someone who expresses unhappiness publicly wants to be listened to and have the issue corrected. If you can do that, you’ve most likely won them back.
This is a public opportunity that didn’t exist before social media. You can actually interact with them and walk through the brand life cycle (most likely getting them to “Consider” you again).
Preparing to interact with the negative 10 percent online has the potential to move them into the happy 10 percent and thus impact the 80 percent from both sides. It may mean getting them “aware” of the brand again or perhaps they were thinking about you and a “recommendation” now moves them to “prefer.” Possibilities!