It’s refreshing to know when brands are listening to their customers. Too often we see tone-deafness from the executives at our favorite companies—releasing a product that does nothing but meet a sales goal for the quarter, keeping quiet on issues trending online, or just ignoring customer feedback entirely.
Here are four examples of companies that stepped up and showed customers that not only are they heard, but they’re also right.
McDonald’s: I’m Lovin’ Paper Straws
Our use of single-use plastic is a growing concern in the world. As the public becomes more aware of its role in climate change and sustainability, they demand more from the companies they give their business. As the largest fast-food corporation in the world, McDonald’s was one of the first to come under pressure for its use of plastic straws.
While you can still use plastic at your local Mickey D’s, the company has chosen not to ignore public demands and is rolling out plans to offer paper straws and phase out plastic, beginning in the United Kingdom. Some may be set in their plastic ways, but McDonald’s is looking past the vocal minority to address the bigger picture from its customer base.
Tesla: When CEO’s Use Twitter
Tesla CEO Elon Musk is one of the most famous company executives on the planet. His role with Tesla and SpaceX makes him a rockstar and real-life Tony Stark, and his social media personality matches his reputations. Musk is one of the few CEO’s you can actually talk to on Twitter—and people do. One Tesla owner tweeted Musk with an idea for a steering wheel adjustment when the car is parked, Elon liked it and made it a reality. It was as simple as that.
Tesla isn’t the only company listening to direct feedback, but it’s fantastic publicity when the CEO addresses it himself on Twitter.
Amway: Addressing Controversy Head-On
Amway is the world’s largest network marketing company with a history dating back 60 years, but even it deals with rumors of being a scam. It’s not uncommon for other players in the industry to keep their heads down and ignore such talks, but Amway decided to do the opposite. Addressing the elephant in the room — accusations that Amway is a pyramid scheme — the company has publicly shown it has nothing to hide.
This head-on attitude not only helps the company’s authenticity but is good for the wellness of the industry (which, in turn, comes back to be good for the company).
Nike: Taking a Cultural Stand
Nike made big headlines in early July when it recalled the release of shoes featuring the original Betsy Ross American Flag on the back. Why? Spokesperson and activist Colin Kaepernick addressed concerns that the Betsy Ross flag had racist connotations so Nike canceled the sale of the shoe.
How is this listening to customer demands? Kaepernick is more than just a customer and the decision to recall the shoes enraged a good chunk of the American public. It turns out that Nike, just like when they hired Kaepernick and a spokesperson in the first place, took a step back in order to take two steps forward. While some were angered by the move, Nike bet on its younger, more liberal base to support the move and become advocates for the brand.
Brands listen to customer feedback in many ways. Some of it blatantly direct, like Tesla, and other implied, like Nike. Either way, customers seem drawn to brands that show publicly that they understand what people are saying and what they want.