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I think the first step to connecting with your customers is to get in their shoes. Personally, you as a consumer, ask questions why you would need such product. And yes, as a consumer you would consult the internet if you are in need of product xyz. But before you consult the internet you ask your friends for recommendations first. Which is why social media is a very powerful tool for marketing your product/brand/company. And social media is about trust as you said. It's about building a community. Not only that, it's a great resource where you can listen directly from your consumer's opinions.
As for your last question, I think you're missing listening on that list. If you don't listen to your customers how would you know what they need?
I guess what Peter was trying to say is that we should not just tell people what to do but also inspire them--make them see why they need our service/product.

But what am I reacting to - seeing a better boat or seeing the sea for the first time ?

Perhaps teaching people to see and not do.

As an aside, what a corporation longs for informs its corporate design. If you think the design of a corporation is poor (for example a bad social media strategy) the chances are they are longing for something different to you. Their boat sails ell on their sea and yours just might sink.

Peter

@Peter - well said. How do you teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea? You get them started with something they can react to :)

@Ricardo - thank you, sir. I modestly think I do rather well with visuals. I should also do more videos, I know... getting there.

@Stanford - in the haste to "let go of control" or pay heed to the allure of the tools, many brands do forget that part. Or maybe it's because different units have different voices and their own way of looking at the experience. How do you become integrated if the team is not? You got it.

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