Brand power is on the wane so you’d better engage

By November 16, 2007Advertising, New Media

I have posted on this theme before a number of times (including here and here) and am returning to it today because of a great little story posted on Modern Marketing:

The greatest problem that marketeers have these days is that no one really cares what they say.  The only opinions people are interested in are those from other people.  Let me give you a personal example.  I have been in the market for a new kitchen for sometime and as a result, quite randomly, found myself in a Moben salesroom and booked up for a consultation.  The Moben rep duly arrived and was very good, explaining everything we needed.  In short we were sold and even cancelled other consultations.  However, I then mentioned our intended purchase to friends and family and got some concerned looks.  Unusually for me I hadn’t checked the company online but then did so.  I found a series of horror stories – including this particularly graphic one.  Order cancelled.  Moben’s tight marketing programme including a shop in a nice part of town, lovely website, super salesman and beautiful literature had been made entirely redundant by my 10 second search. Call it death by Google Index.

Clicking on some of the links is fun too.  They take you to the results of a simple Google search on ‘Moben’ which returns half a dozen complaints in the first page of results, and a website called KitchenHell which is dedicated to publicising Moben problems.
As an aside, it is unbelievable in this day and age that Moben don’t exercise more control over the search results on their name.

And to make matters worse, now I’m writing about it.

Here is a succinct explanation of why things have changed, also from Modern Marketing:

Advertising used to work because the industry had the biggest loudhailer and it could be used to make everyone listen, even if they didn’t really want to.  Which meant brands could be ‘built’ for people to ‘aspire’ to.  Which was all fine when no one really had anything and luxurious things were genuinely rare.  So people watched the ads because they had little choice and the odd one was funny and a few were inspiring.

However, in 1990 one man sowed some seeds which would eventually annihilate that top down, scarcity-driven world of communication.  When Tim Berners-Lee gave us the world wide web he offered everyone a little soap box to say their piece.

And now we listen to the people telling stories from their soap boxes as much as we listen to the messages the brands want us to hear.

Which takes us right back to Cluetrain – brands have got to join the conversation so that they know what people are saying and then amend their behaviour so people start saying good things.  This is the route to success in the 21st Century.