When I asked 30 people in my network, “Which company would you as a customer recommend?” the answers were quite surprising. Spend 5 minutes reading the results and give us your input.

Several companies report that they attract most of their new customers as a result of recommendations from someone in the customer’s network. But what does it really mean when we recommend a company, and which companies do we praise?

That’s why we at Relationwise have set out to discover what it is that makes customers want to recommend companies.

As a small preliminary study, I asked 30 random people in my network which companies they would recommend. Their answers were remarkable, because it wasn’t the big super-brands that won.

The vast majority of the recommendations were for companies like “Børges Car Services” and “Team Benn’s Skiing holidays” – basically, companies I’d never even heard of!

What’s happening to the big brands?

At the turn of the year, branding expert Martin Lindstrøm gave his prognosis for trends in 2018. He predicts that global brands have begun to fade. Brands will still be applicable within technology, but in almost every other industry, they will soon be a thing of the past.

Instead, Lindstrøm predicts that super local brands will be much more appreciated within local communities – and small brands will not move out of the community. Why? Because in the future, brands will survive on being authentic and transparent.

What do your customers want?

I also asked my 30 respondents why they would recommend that specific company. On this question, almost all respondents shared the same opinion: Service and the personal relationship is paramount.

In other words, your customers will generally recommend you only if you’ve delivered a little more than expected. And what about product and price? As I see it, in most industries there is hardly any difference between  rival companies’ products and prices. They can, however, differ greatly on quality of service, and thus on the whole purchasing experience.

What does this mean to you?

If it is your customer ambassadors who in reality sell and market you, will there still be a need for sales and marketing staff in the future? My answer is yes. But we need to rethink these roles.

To get closer to the truth, Business Denmark and Relationwise will be asking even more people for their views on the matter, and we look forward to sharing the conclusions with you.