Loads of us hate change. It can be unsettling. It disrupts the comfortable rhythm of the expected. If you think you are going to get one thing and you get another, it feels all wrong.
My first reaction to change is usually horror. Mad isn’t it, because change can be brilliant! But I usually come round to it pretty quickly once I have absorbed what the change actually means.
To give you an example, yesterday I got a holiday brochure through the post from Dorset Seaside Holidays. I am used to dealing with Dorset Coastal Cottages, but not this lot. “Who are they?” I thought, and what has happened to the company that I know and love?
It seemed to be an offshoot of the original company but it irritated me that they had changed their brochure. Instead of charming line drawings there were now colour photos, which instead of filling me with joy, actually made me cross!
I threw it to one side, but after a while I picked it up again and read the letter that went with it. It turns out that the company is keeping its old cottage brochure but is now offering a sister collection alongside, featuring a wider range of properties and locations. Once I understood what they were doing I stopped feeling irritated and started to feel included again.
Apart from a rather frightening insight into my psyche this teaches us that any change we might want to make needs to be communicated effectively. Loyal customers, worth so much to any business, must be kept onside. The longer we’ve been using a service (I have been going to Dorset for over ten years now), the more we resent and fear change. In any workplace, for example, it is always the old stagers who claim that we’re going to hell in a handcart.
We all need to make changes from time to time, whether it’s a small tweak to your blog or a more fundamental business adjustment but we do need to remember to take our followers with us. A blog or a newsletter is a great way to give your fans as much information about that change as possible. Your most loyal customers will have an emotional investment in your brand and deserve to be kept onside.