Sunday, January 20, 2013

What Marketers Could Learn from the Homeless

The homeless man darted into the oncoming traffic, observed by this writer. Aware of the cars, he decided to cross the street.

One could think of brands as analogous to the homeless man. At times their managers make decisions which appear reckless, not in keeping with the brand's image. Consumers notice. If the decisions for the brand do not fit its image, consumers may quickly criticize them on social networks. "The rules of branding are shifting," says Timothy Calkins, a marketing professor at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management. "As soon as you have an issue, people can pick it up and broadcast it everywhere." Think of logo changes, like Tropicana's and Starbucks', which caused consumer negativity. More than ever, consumers believe they own brands.

The oncoming traffic could also be thought of as the information stream which bombards consumers. Brands need attention, so dart into the traffic. They must act almost recklessly to capture consumer attention, as long as the action does not hurt the brand. Thoughts on watching the homeless.

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