When humanity meets social media like a sloppy wet kiss: A book review on Return on Relationship by Ted Rubin and Kathryn Rose

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Disclaimer: I received this book free of charge from Collective Bias.

I have always said that “simplicity is complexity in disguise.” I didn’t find a new trick or a promotion for some crazy awesome social media tool that would solve everything in the book. It would’ve been an easier sell to others. Buy this and your world will change. Get this and you will get a thousand followers. Instead, it talked about a word that money cannot buy and people cannot manufacture: relationships. The beautiful thing about relationships is that it is dynamic, ever-changing from one state to another, and in a certain way, chaotic. It is unpredictable. It is fickle by nature. And the people who know how to have good relationships are the ones who take these things into consideration. They are not static, monolithic beings. They are lithe. They are agile. They are problem-solvers. They are able to maneuver and navigate the murky waters of uncertainty. They know when they have to be assertive and know when they have to relax and be laid back. They know when to jump into the situation to fix it and know when they just have to ride out the storm. This very thing, this thing called relationship, is the foundation on which every company and individual must stand.

This book reminds us that abstract things like emotions can bring money to the bank. When people feel like the company listens to them and goes out of their way to give excellent customer service, they are more likely to come back and tell others about your company. In essence, you get a free promoter (aka brand advocate). They don’t pay these people to advertise their products but they do so willingly and fervently. I remember when I used to be a Nokia fan boy and tried to make everyone buy a Nokia phone because they were awesome! And then, I decided that they did not value the things I valued like innovation and excellence (this was back in their Symbian days and before they went with Windows). I switched to Blackberry because of their reputation of excellence and solid performance. As the years went by, I felt that they also failed in being innovative and market leaders in their field. Ultimately, this led me to go to Samsung. The funny thing was I used to be a Samsung hater. But because of their desire to lead and produce amazing products, I chose to go with them. Now, I tell everyone that they should buy a Samsung phone. Their social media presence also helped me stay with them. When I tweeted about my complaint about my battery life, they listened. They didn’t pretend that it wasn’t out there. Instead, they responded quickly and efficiently. Within minutes, I received a response from them. Even though the information they told me were things I already knew, I appreciated the fact that they were eager to reach out and maintain a good relationship with their customer. This type of a relationship strengthens my brand loyalty, which in turn, will make it more likely that I purchase yet another Samsung phone in the immediate future. The company’s ability to be humble in their response certainly helped!

I found that the book was written in a concise and user-friendly manner. They were able to provide a good theoretical framework for their arguments and back that up with practical solutions. The only critique I would have of this book pertains to the editing aspect. I found multiple instances of bad grammar and words that should have been taken out that weren’t but eventually stayed in the published draft.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book (I finished it in two hours!) and would heartily recommend it to anyone who is involved or wants to be involved in being a business or social media leader. Well done!

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