The theory of Degrees of Separation suggests that we are much more connected than we might think. It also suggests that, in an increasingly digital age, these degrees might be decreasing.

The implication for business is significant. We spend so much time cresting touch points with our customers. We design add campaigns, thank you notes, events, websites, social engagement mediums all to touch our customers’ lives. This is largely controllable and intentionally designed. We define the dialogue.

What we underestimate is the proximity of other touchpoints. Interactions within separated degrees that perpetuate our customer experience. Here the dialogue is defined by customers based on their experience. This is much more credible and easily undermines the self-created and controlled dialogue.

Suddenly, someone who has never been our customer, gone to our website or seen our ads, has had an interaction with our brand. We have already touched their lives in an interaction where we had no direct input.

All the more reason to ensure that every touchpoint is authentic and valuable. If this is too big a challenge, decrease the number of interactions.

A few positive quasi-experiences navigating the separated degrees is much more valuable than wide-spread recognition with bitter aftertastes.

Arif Wahid

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