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By: Jeremi Karnell, CEO

Last April, Don Peppers published a piece in Fast Company titled “When Trying To Attract Customers, Consider The Habits Of The Honeybee“.  In the article, Peppers highlights how the honeybee is a social insect constantly communicating with other bees about food sources they have found.

When a foraging honeybee comes across a promising food source it returns to the hive and does a little “waggle dance” to tell all the other bees where to fly in order to find this bonanza. The honeybee waggle dance has been shown to be sophisticated enough to communicate the direction of the food source from the beehive, relative to the sun, its distance from the hive, and its overall attractiveness, as well. And this dance provides good direction even on cloudy days, because bees can see light in the ultraviolet spectrum, allowing them to know exactly where the sun is no matter how heavy the cloud cover might be.

It’s easy to draw a parallel between how social customers behave and how honeybees behave.  Think of your customers as honeybees and your business as a flower distributing nectar to the honeybee market.  Great advertising may attract a large number of bees to your flower but in order to get those bees to go back to the hive and do a waggle dance for your product/service you also need to provide a great customer experience.

In a prior post titled “The Funnel is Dead“, I highlighted a framework called The Influence Loop (originally conceived by David Edelman – McKinsey&Company and expanded upon by Brain Solis -Altimeter Group). I believe this framework best describes the evolved journey social customers take when considering a purchase.   When I looked at the framework through Peppers honeybee lens, I found myself asking two questions:

  • What are the media touch-points along the influence loop? (What kind of flowers do we need to nurture?)
  •  What questions should we be asking ourselves at each stage of our customer’s journey to ensure that we are attracting the right individuals and providing them with a positive experience? (Are we attracting the right bees and giving them a reason to waggle for our brand?)



This infographic is my first attempt to create a general list of media touch points and key questions applied across the Influence Loop.  I concede that the media mix would change given the nature of your business (BtoC vs BtoB, Industry Vertical, etc).  I also admit that there are many more questions to be asked at each stage.  Regardless, I think this is a good first step designed to start a dialogue and see if collectively we can come up with something even better.  I encourage and welcome any/all feedback.

Grounding the Influence Loop as a theoretical framework into practical application will be a profound step for any brand forward thinking enough to adopt it.  By understanding the Influence Loop habitat we maintain for our customers we empower our brand to take the necessary steps to improve/optimize the customer experience at each touchpoint.  This will ultimately result in your customers buzzing about your brand to their hive of associates, friends and family.  Waggle Waggle!

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