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April 2, 2012

The social web may allow companies to build far deeper and more personal relationships with shoppers than ever before. But as with any relationship, some effort is necessary to build a success and that begins—but goes well beyond—listening to customer complaints and experiences.

The world of social networking allows companies to play a multi-faceted role by showing they understand customer needs and can participate in helping them fulfill those needs. For instance, a company might have expertise in an area of customer need—recipes, nutritional advice or even shopping strategies—that can be helpful and build a better business relationship. Success in this area though forces marketers to really listen to what customers are saying and to understand how they are hoping you will respond. Merely providing coupons or specials is not enough. The social web demands something deeper.

The next step is determining how to participate and again, price is only a piece of this strategy. Some companies have found ways to build customer interest by creating specific triggers—time sensitive offers, sweepstakes or limited supplies—to drive quicker customer reaction. Others have found that a specific element of their offerings—a single clothing style or a specific menu item—can become a star in its own right, building a loyal and devoted fan base.

Learning how to build these deeper relationships is one critical finding in Part 4 of Untangling the Social Web, the new study from the Coca‑Cola Retailing Research Council of North America. Get more details on the steps toward building these newer and stronger relationships at www.ccrrc.org North America page.

Michael Sansolo

Research Director

Coca‑Cola Retailing Research Council of North America