consumers

Growing Pains For The New Economy

 

painsneweconomy 300x188 - Growing Pains For The New Economy

 

If the internet revolution was slow off the blocks, by the end of the 20th century it had reached a headlong sprint. At the beginning of 2000, there were over 1 billion pages on the World Wide Web. Internet millionaires were being made by the minute, and any would-be entrepreneur with half an idea was welcome to join the party.

The e-commerce boom had begun, and venture capitalists were falling over themselves to provide the finance. The airwaves crackled with advertising for dotcoms, and advertisements on billboards, buses and in the broadsheets were reinforcing the messages. Technology stocks soared on Wall Street, and adland rubbed its hands together as the money rolled in. Amazon’s value peaked at $39.4 billion and Yahoo!, the world’s biggest portal, reached a dizzying $125 billion. Elsewhere, a rash of new entrains replaced some of the traditional bricks-and-mortar bluechip occupants of the UK’s FTSE 100 index.

In the UK, with its narrow choice of mass communication channels, media owners found that competition for limited airtime and outdoor space meant they could sell to the highest bidder. There was even talk of secret higher rates being offered to the more gullible dotcoms. The cost proved unsustainable, and investors either wised up or lost their nerve.

The skeptics were slow to find their voices, but tales of bad management, naive business plans, overstaffing and massive overspending gradually began to filter through.  Suddenly, those previously hailed as heroes of the new economy were being viewed with suspicion by the markets. Continue reading →

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Advertising

Advertising 300x188 - Advertising

 

The advertising industry, as much as its own inventions. lives under the impression that it creates. Part of that impression used to be that advertising was a worthy profession based on much research into consumer behavior and even more understanding of it. Anybody who knows that women in New York use nearly 30times as much make-up as women in Vermont must surely know more about consumers than consumers know about themselves.

But the impression that the advertising industry has given in recent years has been rather different. It has appeared to be an industry obsessed with growth at almost any price and willing to follow any fad for a quick profit. Continue reading →

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The Renaissance Of The Brand

There was a peculiar cult about in the 1980s which, for want of a better name, could be called “brand worship”. Its core belief was that brand names had a great and immutable value that most people had failed to appreciate. The cult found some of its keenest followers in Europe, which was stuffed with fine old-name products suffering a similar fate as its fine old-name aristocrats.

brand 300x188 - The Renaissance  Of The Brand

 

Hidden Assets

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Customer Challenges

customerchallenges 300x188 - Customer Challenges

 

The fickleness or lack of dependability of today’s consumers may be partly because they are baffled by the huge choice they have and find it difficult to keep up with the constant flow of new goods and services onto the market. The complexity of 21st – century life makes it difficult, even inappropriate, to be consistent. The way people behave may not even be consistent with the values they espouse. For example, at demonstrations outside Nike Town outlets against the company’s use of underage labor in its outsourced manufacturing plants, some of the protesters sported Nike training shoes. Continue reading →

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Customer Power

 

customerpower 300x188 - Customer Power

 

Another tricky area for marketers is the degree to which they should accept what customers tell them. Some customers will tell a company what they think it wants to hear, especially if it is rewarding them for being so open. Some will pay little attention to the truth of their answers, and others may deliberately lie – perhaps overstating a criticism to make sure it is not ignored.

One outcome of taking everything the customer offers at face value is that supposedly “customer-led” brands begin to adopt similar values in an attempt to reflect the target market’s values and lifestyles. products and services as diverse as airline travel and food could feasibly share the attributes “empowering” and “approachable”. In the case of an airline, research groups would have talked about the importance of being in control of their travel arrangements need to be altered. By comparison, a convenience food brand could reflect the empowerment lifestyle attribute by offering consumers good food without the effort. Approachability could relate to care-lines giving consumers the option to call up with nutritional or recipe queries. The unique selling proposition is therefore buried by the desire to appeal to the customer.

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New Economy, New Consumer

neweconomy 300x188 - New Economy, New Consumer

 

New businesses will have failed to notice that consumers are different these days. They have become more knowledgeable, more demanding and less dependable. These changes are of great significance, but, first, it is helpful to look at the background from which they have sprung.

 

Advertising in its earliest form was promoted by the industrial revolution in the 18th century. As manufacturing hit its stride on both sides of the Atlantic and products rolled off assembly lines, firms needed ways to stimulate demand for the goods they were making. Mass advertising started to appear in the 19th century and took off in the 20th. The consumer society that emerged was one where products and services were clearly branded, and brands were designed to reflect appealing values in a bid to differentiate them in the mind of the average shopper. Emotive characteristics were attributed to goods: “if I buy this soap, I will be happy”. Marketers promoted a lifestyle that people were encouraged to aspire to. Advertising was in the business of selling dreams. Continue reading →

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