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Friday, February 9

P2P, Friemily, UnI. Call me anything but Consumer

Imagine if your visiting card said - Senior Producer. Or National Producer. Or Chief Producing Officer. Or Creative Producer. Or Art Producer. Or Market Research Producer.

The very thought is appalling!! And yet in the marketing/communication game of us vs them,we call the people who buy stuff/ experiences/ grocery/ dreams from us - 'consumers'.

I hate this term. Its so inhuman. So degrading. So wrong. So incomplete!

Then is an entire lexicon which we have created- consumer insight, consumer behaviour, consumer research, consumer loyalty...And the edifice of our thoughts, strategies and communication is built on it!

I feel nomenclatures shape our world/ worldview. Seemingly innocuous labelling affects perceptions, thoughts and behaviours...But stereotyping simplifies. And therefore as marketers and communicators, its easy to maintain the divide. Us and them. Producers( of products and communication) and consumers.

Implicit are the rules...
1. They are a target audience
2. We make the rules.
3. We are smarter than them
4. They are stationary targets
5. They are waiting for our products and communication
6. We learn about them. They do not learn about us.
7. They can be loyal to us, if only we tried harder.
8. They can always be grouped in clusters to suit our mass media weaponry.
9. We can change the packaging of our products. And they will fall for them.
10. They have an insatiable appetite for hype, half-truths and bull-shit.
11. If you pray hard. The remote will disappear! Or at least they won't use them that often
12. They love the sound of our voice...

But everyone knows...The rules have long changed.
1. We are the new target. Of disloyalty. Of cynicism. Of derision.
2. They are making most of the rules.
3. They are much smarter than us. They didn't even give us time to realise this:-)
4. They are moving fast. We are the targets
5. They are having fun with change and technology. And are saying to us - "Get a life".
6. They have learnt all our tricks. They can now even make a super bowl ad for $12!!
7. Hype and half-truths never gets loyalty. They are loyal to their families and communities and passions not to bars of soap and toilet paper! Not even to their companies(most of the time)
8. They are as fragmented as shards of broken glass
9. They are saying to us - "When will you change the packaging of your thoughts?"
10. They say to us - "Boy, when will you ever get it. Why are you guys so dumb?"
11. Who needs the remote to escape your ads...We don't watch TV. We watch TiVO.We get RSS feeds
12. They don't give a f*** to what we have to say(mostly)!!

In this open source bazaar of conversations, of people-generated-content, a world with zero tolerance for hype and falsehood, we must find a new word for 'Consumer'. They are exactly like us. They are Us. We are them. People who work during the day and surf at night:-) People with families and stress, kids and budgets.

They are not on this earth to consume. They want authenticity. They want trust. They want to protect the earth and keep it green. They want to laugh and joke. Their loyalties can never be bought with a card. Yes they want discounts;they want 'beautiful images' but that doesn't define them.

They read many of the articles on 'how to capture eye-balls', how to capture a share of the target audience. And then they trust us even less. They shrug their shoulders. Because we don't get it! Even now.

So if they are us. Should we call this bazaar conversation P2P(people-to-people), Friemily(Friend and Family), UnI(You and I)...They aren't the best nomenclature. But at least they are better than 'Consumers'!

2007 resolution. As far as possible, avoid the use of this word/ mind-set:-)

Picture courtesy: Gettyimages


pooR_Planner said...

Brilliant. As a human being I love to be a part of the everyday mass, walking, talking, watching people on footpath, railway station, road side eatery, movie halls. Things change the moment we put in our hats of defining ourselves as creatives, planers, suits, managers etc. Quiet true that we forget they are us and we are as much them. Just that nomenclatures change once we enter the four walls of our office.

Love this post.

Anonymous said...

Nice post! :)

Manish said...

thanks roop. good that u like it...have tweaked it a little and made it into an article for