Nick Westergaard

By Nick Westergaard on February 18, 2013

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The 4 Most Powerful Words a Marketer Can Use

4 words makers mark

You often hear couples talk about saying those three little words — I love you. However, in the relationship between a brand and their customers, it’s four little words that can make all the difference in the world.

While “I love you” isn’t a bad thing for brands and consumers to be feeling and saying to one another, it’s a bit of a two-dimensional sentiment. Yes, we want our customers to express affection for us and vice versa, but what about a more complex relationship. A relationship built on mutual respect through listening and responding.

“You asked. We listened.” This simple four-word phrase belongs in the copywriter’s hall of fame. More believable than the ubiquitous promises of “high quality” and “low prices” and less one sided than the simple exclamation, “we love our customers!” this almost pedestrian copy demonstrates not only that your brand listens, but also that you’re ready to put your money where your mouth is.

These four words can be useful in many instances. Let’s look at some examples of brands employing this approach.

Maker’s Misses the Mark

“You asked, we listened” showed up recently in the marketing zeitgeist when distillery Maker’s Mark announced that, due to increased demand and dwindling supply, they would decrease the alcohol volume in their famous bourbon from 45 to 43 percent, or 84 proof.

As you might imagine, fans of the spirit had a strong reaction, leading Maker’s Mark leadership to reverse course on this new direction in accordance with their fans’ wishes. They announced this with rapid-response messages on both Facebook and Twitter leading off with those four words. All of this led back to a blog post featuring that same headline.


If you click through to their Facebook message and blog post they also introduce another magical concept: While we thought we were doing what’s right, this is your brand – and you told us in large numbers to change our decision. This is also a great opportunity for organizations to remember that the brand is ultimately not just what you say but rather what your community thinks and feels.

When it’s essential to let your community know that you hear them and are fixing the issue, accept no substitutes.

Giving the People What They Want

In searching for another example of a brand employing this powerful copy, look no further than Google. Last summer they asked community members on their mobile blog what types of info they wanted more of. Topping that list was Android content. So much so that Google launched an official Android-focused blog.

How did they go about doing this? Via a response post on their blog utilizing those four words as a headline.

4 words google

More Than Lip Service

While the point of this article could be mistaken as simply promoting use of this helpful copy, brands need to look beneath the surface. The first phrase in this seemingly magical clause implies that you have been listening to what your customers think and feel. Are you doing this today? Do you have processes in place for closing feedback loops between your customer-facing employees and your marketing team? Are you actively listening to your community on social channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+?

The final requirement in being able to utilize this phrase means that your brand must be ready to do something about your customers’ grievance. Can you really take this kind of action? If not, how can you better instill a rapid-response mentality in your organization’s culture?

Long-Term Relationships

“You asked, we listened” also implies the kind of give and take found in long-term interpersonal relationships. When you’re in it for the long-haul, simple expressions of affection are replaced over time with a deeper connection and a shared understanding of each others’ needs.

What are your customers asking for? Are you listening?

Photo via Flickr user Joe Shlabotnik


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Nick Westergaard
Email Brand Driven Digital

is Chief Brand Strategist and founder of Brand Driven Digital, where he helps build better brands online. In addition to his agency work, he teaches social media marketing at the University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business and is the co-host of The Work Talk Show podcast. More about Nick.