29 February 2012 | Tanya Goodin

Brands, be flawsome to be awesome.

One of the key consumer drivers we’re seeing more of at Tamar is customers wanting to see evidence of much more human traits in the brands they deal with.

Trend spotting firm trendwatching.com have coined a neat buzz word for this, ‘flawsome’. In a nutshell, brands who want to be truly awesome online have got to be prepared to reveal their faults and flaws – and be more flawsome.

Why does this work? Well human nature being what it is, people appear to have a hard time feeling close to, or really trusting, other people who seem or pretend to have no weaknesses or flaws – or who just don’t seem to ever make any mistakes.

We instinctively distrust ‘perfection’. And we feel the same way about brands. We just can’t feel connected with them if they claim to be perfect. On the other hand, we actively appreciate and respond to any disclosure of problems or flaws. After all, we’re now disclosing more and more of ourselves through social media channels so we expect our brands to do the same.

This is nowhere seen more clearly than in the area of onsite product or service reviews: 68% of consumers trust reviews MORE when they see both good AND bad scores, while 30% suspect censorship or faked reviews if there aren’t ANY negative comments or reviews (Source: Reevoo.com, January 2012).

Even more inteteresting, shoppers who go out of their way to read bad reviews convert 67% more than the ‘average’ consumer (Source: Reevoo.com, January 2012).

And when things go wrong in the brand-consumer experience being ‘human’ in the way you respond turns out to be even more important.

Thanks to social media consumers now have even more opportunities available to them than ever before to be able to complain vociferously and publicly about poor service or disappointment. But if handled well those exposed flaws can actually be made to work for a brand and it can be made flawsome.

76% of people who complained on Twitter received no response from the brand. But among those who WERE contacted, 83% liked or loved that the brand responded, and 85% were satisfied with the response (Source: Maritz Research, September 2011).

So, bear in mind when planning your social media strategy, consumers don’t expect brands to be flawless. In fact, consumers will embrace brands more that are flawsome. Brands that are flawsome show their empathy, humility, flexibility, humour and, above all their humanity. And they reap the rewards.

Tanya Goodin

Tanya Goodin

Founder of Tamar

  • amanda

    There are plenty of brands that have had success humanising their brand by utilising the merits of their staff profiles and personalities (normally the CEO) but can come unstuck when the personality gets bigger than the brand (and don’t use anyone that might leave)!

  • Liz

    I think this ties in well to your other blog http://blog.tamar.com/2012/05/5-reasons-brands-dont-need-to-advertise-on-facebook/ . The rise of social media, and as you say, the individual sharing their flaws through these channels, has led to us expecting a more real relationship with the brands we like/love/loathe.