Changing Brand Behavior

Have you noticed that even as we see the power of digitization modifying business and, in my view driving productivity gains into the consumer marketplace, we also see regulation of the worst kind creeping into the system?

Lets talk about productivity gains for a minute. The power of the smart phone. New apps are coming on line faster than we can use them. Most of them we will never know about. Some of them we now think of as being part of life and accept without any further thought. How prescient Google was to understand the power of mapping… Because now you can mark a map with a virtual sign, and post a picture of the place or look at someone else's picture and familiarise yourself with the place. The power of mashing mapping co-ordinates into other parts of your life has only just begun – just like search itself…

Productivity gains by the community are the most disruptive thing that there is to a business that has not embraced and started using the same tools. Because when a customer has more information about the marketplace at his or her fingertips than the supplier, then the customer has the edge.

For a very long time it was only business that could afford to build market intelligence of the depth and breadth that anyone who has a connection to the internet can.

And now people want to know about the environmental credentials of the companies that they deal with too. So while the politicians spout hot air about whether or not there should be a carbon tax, the community has actually moved on. Manufacturing businesses with vision (which is actually quite a lot of them) have already built into their long term plan analysis of the CO2 impact of everything that they do; every product that they manufacture; every process that they undertake. They have a plan of somewhere between 3 years and 7 probably that will see them introduce new ways of reducing their CO2 footprint in order to be compliant as soon as regulations are introduced, and in parallel with that they watch with interest as the politicians knock themselves out.

The public, in the mean time, are becoming much more interested in the provenance of consumer goods. The public doesn't want to know about the CO2 impact for the most part. The public is focusing on the more interesting aspects of GM in their food, and whether the food came from a plant in China where there are lax rules on milk products for instance. The public is concerned about food quality. And about child labour. And about price.

The public has the ability to shift its loyalty to a brand very rapidly too. Hence the current very public PR fight between the two major supermarket chains in Australia – Coles and Woolworths. All over milk price.

This could start to be interesting. It will be interesting because as one of these chains starts to explore what the other is doing, they stand the risk of the public finding out more about them themselves. The apps will appear faster that enable every one of us to match price and check provenance. And productivity gains by the public will be the factor that becomes the most important aspect of brand behavior.

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