Dare to say ‘focus on the consumer’ one more time

[Rant alert] Seriously. I’ve had it with this gratuitous expression. I get it, we all get it by now don’t we? There’s no reason for every presentation to feature a slide with this so called knowledge and then someone in the audience will tweet it and it’ll definitely generate a few retweets. And every time I can’t help thinking: why?

It’s not like I don’t agree, but isn’t that just the most obvious thing to say? That’s hardly rocket science is it. I find it even obnoxious if you are running a business or in charge of marketing that wouldn’t be the case by default. How do you believe you are ever going to win in business if you’re decisions are all based on everything but the consumer. And how do you deal with your marketing when the consumer is not present in how you build out your plans? Seriously. The fact that there are still so many people that ‘see the light’ when someone tells them they should focus on the consumer is beyond anything I can understand.

And – like I’ve written before – I don’t see how it changes how companies operate. Credit where credit is due, you see some companies transform, but since we can all maybe name just only a few I guess that proves they are still exceptions to the rule. Companies don’t all of a sudden focus on the consumer, they couldn’t even if they wanted to. In many cases they have little to no view on who those consumers really are. And then I don’t mean 18-55 year old women or millenials because those descriptions do more to prove my point than than anything else. Even in the age of ‘big data’ most brands don’t have too much of an idea about their consumer base, let’s just be honest about it. And how can you focus on someone if you don’t even know who that someone is?

So stop saying, start acting.
Please.

The Avatar Marketplace

Branded virtual clothes spotted in the Xbox Avatar Marketplace. This means you can now buy Adidas, Quicksilver, … gear for your Xbox avatar, great stuff. Before I go any further you need to understand something though. The Xbox avatar used to be a small square icon just like the avatars you see at whatever internet service of choice. Twitter, Friendfeed, … you name it. With the latest release of the Xbox dashboard last year they changed all that for the Xbox though. Avatars now became virtual 3D characters which you could personalize to your own wish, making them look like you as much as possible (or not at all).

xboxavatar

That’s all fun and games but the real importance of all this is only showing now with the launch (beta still) of games such as ‘1 vs 100’ in which you literally play the well known tv show on your Xbox against another 100 real people. And you might have guessed it, the game is showing a virtual studio full of avatars of the people playing. The new avatar, a better representation of you and not just a little square anymore. Thus the importance of brands being very valuable in this context.

Today Adidas, Quicksilver (and maybe some others) are present with virtual versions of a part of their real collection. Should this be limited to fashion brands only, sure not. And should it be limited to existing clothes only, sure not. Wouldn’t it be cool if someone actually launches a new collection on the Avatar Marketplace first, I think it would. Yep, we’re definitely only just scratching the surface here – to be continued for sure!

When did we start trusting strangers?

“When did we start trusting strangers” is a new research from Universal McCann done in September of this year and is part of their Wave global digital research program. The research/survey was done in 29 countries involving 17.000 internet users.

“It explores how the web and in-particular social media have made it incredibly easy to source and share personal opinions. This has created a revolution in where we source information and what we trust that has massive impacts for the role of professional media and marketing communications.“

I strongly recommend that you take a look at the presentation as it holds some pretty valuable and recent information on consumer behavior and commercial influence. You can find the presentation below, there’s one thing I wanted to highlight specifically though. At a certain point the research talks about superinfluencers:

“In a world of mass influence – some people rise above the average. These are the individuals that influence regardless of category. This is why we call them superinfluencers – they go beyond the average.”

Now that is nothing new, but then they look at these superinfluencers motivations to recommend products or services to their peers (indexed against all respondents) and then you get this:

superinfluencers

You’ll notice that these motivations are pretty similar to all respondents when you look at good or bad personal experiences or when it involves high quality brands, but that they are a lot more driven than the rest of the population by values such as celebrity endorsement/usage, fashionable brands or in case brands are unknown amongst their social group. Now I found that pretty interesting.

Anyway, as said, interesting research and good presentation so go check it out below: