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What 'Mad Men' can teach us about generating value from customer feedback

Devotees of the hit US TV series ‘Mad Men’ will have heard passing references to the legendary US advertising agency Doyle Dane Bernbach. In 1999, 17 years after his death, its founder, Bill Bernbach was nominated by Advertising Age as the most influential adman of the 20th century.

A new way of talking to customers

Bernbach’s legacy was not only a new way of running an ad agency (he introduced the concept of a team of copywriter and art director) but also a new way of talking to customers. His view, that advertising should use colloquial language and persuasion, was as disruptive in its time as social media is today. He also happens to be one of the most-quoted admen ever and his thoughts are as relevant today as they were 60 years ago.

Here’s what he thought about research: “We are so busy measuring public opinion that we forget we can mould it. We are so busy listening to statistics that we forget we can create them.”

Pearls of wisdom that are relevant today

A timely reminder to anyone in the field of customer feedback that their role is not just to record, analyse and interpret data; it’s to use the insight they glean to influence, guide and direct the way in which the brand they work for interacts with its customers, encouraging their loyalty and advocacy.

Over the course of the next few weeks I’ll be drawing on the wisdom of Bill Bernbach (and that of other advertising legends) to illustrate some very personal views on how to make the most of your investment in customer feedback.

I’ll be considering:

  • How customer experience is crucial to business success
  • Why action can be better than analysis
  • Why it’s important to stand for something
  • How leadership is essential to a successful service improvement programme
  • The vital importance of employee engagement
  • How customer-centricity should drive your customer programme

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