The relationship between business and consumers is in the midst of drastic change. The traditional business model of pushing products out to the public, is quickly being replaced by a new model that involves consumers pulling their desired products from companies. Consumers no longer want to sit by quietly waiting for companies to tell them which products to purchase and when, they want to be involved in the entire process, from start to finish. Thankfully, social media has swooped in and helped to facilitate the ongoing conversation that is happening between a business and it’s consumers. Many companies are taking advantage of this new business model, and Dell is a prime example.
In 2007 Dell launched IdeaStorm, which essentially started as an online suggestion box. Members of this online community were given the ability to post ideas, promote/demote them and also to make comments. Fast forward six years, and there have been more than 15,000 ideas posted and more than 500 of them actually implemented. A few of these ideas include:
In 2012, IdeaStorm went under a remodel. This involved adding more Dell representatives to the website and enhancing the technology to include social media platforms. Storm Sessions were also added, which are scheduled meeting times with a Dell representative to discuss specific topics with the members of the website. Another addition was the point system, that gave the members a chance to gain points and popularity, as well as Dell Rockstar Status. Listen to what Vida Killian, Manager of IdeaStorm has to say below.
Lessons for Others
In Dell Modernizes Ideastorm, Shel Israel states that:
“It should serve as a lesson to large site providers to stay current and keep tweaking. The second lesson is to just keep talking with your customers. Their collective perspective will shape your future whether you like it or not.”
It’s extremely important for online communities like IdeaStorm to stay current with what’s happening in the digital world. They need to remain in sync with the always changing environment. If not, they rick losing customers. Companies also need to ensure that they are giving the public the opportunity to voice their ideas. This will help to ensure that they are offering the best and most useful products, increasing their competitive advantage in the market.
Submitted By: Jessica Kleiner, SMBP Student, University of Waterloo
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