FLAWSOME: Humanizing Businesses


Flawsome. It’s a seemingly silly word that paints a bigger picture of the changing face of customer-business relationships—and it’s a concept we think is pretty downright awesome.

Coined by Trendwatching.com as one of their 12 Crucial Customer Trends of 2012, “flawsome” is built on the idea that customers don’t want companies to be perfect—but rather they’d prefer companies to admit and even embrace their flaws.

Tired of the same old stories of unethical business practices and corporate greed, customers are drawn to stories of businesses doing good. Companies like Ben & Jerry’s and Patagonia have shown customers and the competition alike that corporations can grow and profit, while being honest, compassionate and fair. Being flawsome goes one step beyond—it’s the concept that businesses should not only show their good side, but their human side as well.

Take for instance Miracle Whip’s new campaign slogan: “We’re not for everyone.” Or Domino’s bold effort at creating an open dialogue with customers by live-streaming positive and negative customer feedback on a Times Square ticker. Lululemon, meanwhile, took a jab at their image by uploading a YouTube parody of the popular “Sh*t Girls Say” videos: “Sh*t Yogis Say.”

For decades, advertisers had it easy. The one-way flow of communication through television, print and radio allowed for brands to be presented to the public as perfect and flawless. And even if customers were unsatisfied with the truthfulness of the ads or the quality of the products, there was no real way for them to convey it to others.

But with the Internet, that all began to change. Today’s social media boom has refined the way businesses communicate with customers. Customers can now “friend” brands on Facebook, “follow” them on Twitter, and critique them openly on Yelp to an audience of millions.

It’s made it nearly impossible for companies to hide behind even the most expensive and carefully crafted reputations. McDonald’s, for example, experienced a major advertising blunder last year when a Twitter campaign aimed at getting customers to share their feel-good dining memories at fast food giant backfired—and a tirade of bad reviews hit their feed instead.

What we love about this trend towards being flawsome is that it promotes transparency—something we think is really important when running a business. From how sustainable and efficient a business runs, to how workers are being treated, and down to the actual quality of the products being produced—we think customers should have a right to know it all, and share their thoughts.

So, while the word sounds a little cheesy, the message is anything but. Technology has created an open forum between customers and businesses, and customers are demanding companies to be good, to be honest, and above all, to be real.

Customer feedback has helped us grow into the company we want to be—one that resonates with customers and stays true to our mission. We hope this trend continues to push more companies to embrace their flawed awesomeness!