Thursday, September 5, 2013

Brands and Consumers

We have been talking about how control of a brand has moved away from the marketer closer to the consumer. For a marketer this can be quite disconcerting, but this can also be seen as a window of opportunity and this post is about that opportunity. First to start with the negatives, the loss of control means that not everything that the consumer does with your product or writes about is something which is as per the instructions on the box or as the marketer would want it to be. For example most of the companies have their face book fan pages and a cursory visit to some of them would point out that not all what is being written about your product/service is positive. On the flipkart facebook page, I can see a lot of very specific complaints about poor product or poor service. How is this an opportunity? One can ignore these complaints saying that they are probably a few disgruntled customer making unnecessary noise, or show your responsiveness by trying to resolve the issue in the open. Each complaint resolved would add to the credibility of the firm. On the same lines, what happens when a product is being used for purposes other than it is meant to be, the legendary use of washing machines in Punjab to make Lassis kind of situations. Consumer finds innovative uses for your product, which may or may not help your brand. I read a very interesting piece recently on how consumer are experimenting with use of Oats in typical Indian dishes. The opportunity lies in using insights from consumers or create a forum where they could probably share their recipes and the company could also go ahead and come up with new product ideas based on some of these ideas.

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