Listening is ket: Powell

Companies are not really listening, either to their customers, or to their own employees.And this fundamental flaw is costing them business because 'listening is a source of competitive advantage,' says Hugo Powell, president of Labatt Breweries of Canada.'Better listening may be...

Companies are not really listening, either to their customers, or to their own employees.

And this fundamental flaw is costing them business because ‘listening is a source of competitive advantage,’ says Hugo Powell, president of Labatt Breweries of Canada.

‘Better listening may be one of the best sources of opportunity for securing our future, whether as a country, as governments or as a business,’ Powell says.

‘Yet, many of us have taken listening for granted,’ he says.

Speaking at a joint presentation with marketing consultant Richard Kelly, to a recent meeting of the Grocery Products Manufacturers of Canada, Powell says many people – Labatt customers included – do not feel adequately listened to.

These observations from Powell come after a long period of re-examination at the brewery that has led to the hiring of a new agency to Canada for all Labatt-named brands, and a new approach to Labatt’s overall advertising thrust, which will be unveiled when its new advertising breaks early next month.

Kelly, who was at the centre of the Labatt rethink along with researcher Henry Fiorillo, says listening is ‘a signal of respect.’

‘When people don’t feel listened to, they don’t feel respected,’ Kelly says. ‘And when they don’t feel respected, they feel angry, and resentment blooms.’

‘This resentment is exacerbated if people think you’re pretending to listen, but aren’t paying attention,’ he says. ‘Hearing, but not listening. MS