Buyers are fickle. Little things can set your company apart from competitors. If you're actively engaged in a constant conversation with your customers (i.e. through blogging and other social media) , chances are pretty good that you'll form a tie with them that will be hard to break.
Geoff sums this point up pretty strongly by giving us a peek into his motivation for purchasing a new computer. He says that while Macs are cool and HPs are competitive, it's important to support a company that places significance in fostering a conversation with the people that matter: customers.
Apple used to be good at this, but somewhere along the way, they lost the connection that they had with their customers in exchange for increased profits. Sam over at New Media Strategies' blog talks about "Passionistas" -- essentially evangelists focused on a passion instead of a particular brand. Apple's core client base was comprised either by evangelists or this different group of passionistas. The amount of buzz that was generated from their iPhone announcement (and really, every recent product announcement) was/is staggering. These groups have the ability to drive the buzz positively or negatively, as seen by the recent turmoil Apple's been experiencing online. Hundreds (if not thousands) of blogs, online columns, etc have discussed Apple's need to compensate their early adopters for the $200 price drop as well as the "Brick-gate" - Apple's bricking of iPhones with the new firmware update. Apple has customers who are openly discussing the company's successes and failures, but no one in Cupertino is listening.
Participating in an open conversation with customers is important to a company's continued success, but if you're not willing to listen to what they have to say, you're not doing yourself any favors.