This post is long overdue – so I apologize. Not only to the folks who read this blog, but also to Bruce Philp who wrote an amazing book that I devoured at record speed and should have shared with others earlier this summer. So, without further ado, here we go:
Somewhere in a small town along the shores of the Georgian Bay, Bruce Philp really loves his toaster… Why should you care?
Well, according to Bruce – in his recent book, Consumer Republic: using brands to get what you want, make corporations behave and maybe even save the world – you should care about whether he, or any other consumer out there, really REALLY loves any of the products, services and brands they come in contact with. Why? Because THAT is how you will get real references and evaluations of said products, but also because THAT is how you can then find the communities you want to associate with. (Why? Because that’s where your consumer is!)
Consumer Republic is a book that was clearly written for the consumer. It helps us understand that we are truly experiencing the democratization of consumerism*. Consumers, and we are all consumers, learn an important lesson in Philp’s book: we have the power to make corporations behave. Now, in theory, we always have. In fact, the reason businesses are IN business is because consumers (yes, you & I) spend money on their wares – whatever they may be. If we didn’t spend money with those brands – or rather, if enough of us didn’t spend money with them – they would go out of business and we’d never hear from them again. So what we understand in Consumer Republic is that if enough of us stop spending money with a certain brand we can, in essence, put them out of business.
Bolstering the power consumers already have is this onslaught many have called: Web 2.0 or is it 3.0 now – social media. Philp explains that social media gives consumers the power to bond (Maslow’s 3rd pyramid rung) around their feelings for a brand. Did they love it or hate it?
Bruce prescribes how consumers can use the power of the web: access to information, communities and quick rallies to demand accountability from brands. As business owners and brand managers, this book is a must-read. If you know how your consumers can mobilize communities to help or hinder, you can design products, processes and community content that is valuable, relevant and can tap into the positivity of groups.
If you haven’t yet picked up this book… GO!
*Democratization of consumerism:
By definition, this simply means the move towards more democracy for society’s preoccupation with the acquisition of consumer goods and services.
In my opinion, what we are experiencing is consumers’ realization that they have the ability and power to shape businesses’ behaviours. The tables have turned. So, how will businesses stay afloat?
My suggestion? Consider the last few posts.
The true marketing revolution will elevate the role of the business from simply making money to satisfying consumer needs and desires to making genuine contributions in their communities (local, national and global).