So, it’s 12:30 AM. I’ve just finished the required reading, and the creative juices are flowing. I’ve also just finished the movie Fight Club, so I’m kind of in that “Think about everything, but do nothing at all important” kind of mood that I get in when I actually watch deep, involving movies like that.
Lately we’ve been discussing the concept of a “conversation” between companies and consumers. For the longest time, it’s been accepted that the businessmen of large corporations were on a higher plane than the average person. They’re gods that provide us with our vehicles, and movies, and furniture, and Spaghettios, like manna from Heaven, or something. They can’t be touched. If they say something, we’re going to follow it, because they’re untouchable. Send in a letter? If they even waste company time to read it, it’ll be in the shredder labelled “complaints” within the next four business days.
Although I’m in risk of sounding like the stereotypical college student, promoting Anarchy and whatnot, I will still make the metaphor that that world is under a sort of totalitarian-rule dystopia, where the man in the biggest tower is king, and his servants provide the product to his peasants. If anybody’s unhappy, then it’s treason. That peasant is nullified in one way or another, and life goes on as things were.
Thankfully, today is much different than that. We have entered an age where the top corporations are on the same level as the common man. As companies fall into the trend of social media, they are starting to realize that they’re playing in the common man’s playing field. They’re playing by our rules, and they know it.
This means that they are being forced to recognize us as equals. We’re not children to be talked down to. We know what we’re buying, and we know that we can visit any one of their competitors at the click of a mouse.
We have power now.
With simple blog posts, and the right amount of exposure, a single person can affect business, crippling companies a significant amount. It doesn’t happen often, but even if the blog doesn’t change the company, it can certainly change the buyers’ opinions.
This article below echoes Dr. Codone’s in-class point about shoppers being influenced by blogs:
Businesses are finally starting to recognize us as something more than statistics. They’re starting to understand that, naturally, we human beings want to feel special. We don’t want to be coddled – we want a friend with a big name. Many corporations are already playing the game, with many posts being less and less formal. Taco-bell is a great example. They know that a large part of their audience is poor college kids. With that in mind, they put off a very chilled out, kind of “hip” air to their media interactions.
Dasani had a huge joke about “bacon-flavored Dasani Drops,” for April Fool’s Day, last year. The internet loved it. Mr. Clean is a great person to “like” on Facebook. I don’t remember when I ‘liked’ that page, but constantly I’m reminded of why I don’t un-click.
We want businesses to think like we do – to act like we do. Spencer’s Gifts is known for their very laid-back approach to professionalism (to put it nicely). They’ve had spunk for years, and it’s earned them a strong and loyal fan-base. Should more companies join this more relaxed approach?
Obviously not everybody appreciates Spencer’s, due to the whole “Sex, Drugs, and Rock ‘n’ Roll” attitude they have. Of course your mileage may vary, but the truth is that nobody likes being so professional that they’re walking on egg-shells all day long.
There is a time and place for everything, so keep professionalism in courts and emergency rooms. Social Media is just that – Social. This is the place to cut back, loosen your neck-tie, let your hair down and slip into something comfortable. A modern business should be, at best, a friend. At least, a cool uncle. They need to woo people, and they can’t do that with business models or blatant marketing.
It’s time for businesses to attain identities, and to become people too. The market is evolving, and it’s becoming a lot more relaxed. If companies can’t manage that, then consumers are going to keep treating them like the stone slabs that they’re trying so hard to be.
Conclusion: Samsung’s representative understands.