Connecting With The Customer

Alexis Ohanian

Lesson time 06:01 min

Learn how to align your business with customers’ values. Alexis describes why caring about details and the way you communicate to your customers matters.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Consider the Mascot • Go Surprise and Delight


[MUSIC PLAYING] - We know the business adage, word of mouth is the best form of marketing. We've all heard it. We don't have to go to business school to learn it. We take it for granted because it's so obvious. And only in the modern era, thanks to the advent of online communities at scale, can we actually see the power of that and track that. Because this was always the case. If I had a nice blacksmith in town who I really liked, I would tell a buddy of mine, hey, you need to go get your sword repaired, you should go to Fred's Blacksmith Shop. Word of mouth was a really compelling form of advertising. And that blacksmith wasn't going to be able to buy an ad in the newspaper because they didn't exist yet, because we didn't have the printing press. But today, every one of us has our own little printing press in our pocket where we can authentically and genuinely spread the word about our local blacksmith or our favorite startup, and other people will see it and can easily amplify it. And now that we're starting to understand and really measure that, we are going to see an entirely new way that every CEO is going to think about community. The internet has drastically changed the relationship to the customer. Social media was the first wave of this change. And the realization every company has now had to go through is that your customers are everywhere. Your customers are talking about you everywhere. And your choice is simple-- either ignore them, bury your head in the sand and hope that it just takes care of itself, or engage with them. Learn from them. Empathize with them. And if you're going to keep trying to do the former, you're probably going to have a really bad time. You have an imperative, now more than ever, to engage with every single one of your customers-- good, bad, ugly-- where they are and in a way that shows that you actually give a damn. Do you like how I tied the blacksmith thing together? I wasn't sure where I was going with it, but I feel like I brought it in. I don't necessarily think every company needs a great logo or a mascot in particular, but they do need some kind of personality or depth. And that's absolutely the case for anything that's consumer-facing, but increasingly the case for any business, even a B2B-type business that's servicing other businesses, because we are storytellers. As humans, we want to find points of connection and be able to relate to everything in our world, including, increasingly, even companies and brands that we use and care about. And now that social media is ubiquitous and everyone is fighting for every last bit of attention, more work that you put into humanizing your brand, into humanizing your business, making it more relatable-- whether it's as you a founder personally or through some avatar you create-- it goes a long way towards creating yet another moat of brand. ALEXIS OHANIAN (VOICEOVER): I used to draw a unique design on the Reddi...

About the Instructor

In 2005, UVA undergrad Alexis Ohanian envisioned a place online where users connect over subcultures—enter Reddit. That was only the start: From growing billion-dollar companies to championing female founders, Ohanian shaped culture. Now he wants to lead tomorrow’s innovators. Learn how to turn an idea into a startup with advice Alexis has shared with other entrepreneurs through his VC fund, Seven Seven Six.

Featured MasterClass Instructor

Alexis Ohanian

Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian teaches you how to turn an idea into a startup. Get the advice he’s shared through his VC fund, Seven Seven Six.

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