Something’s in the air in 2011. I’m not sure if the recession kicked up the “I’m unsatisfied and what are you doing about it” dust or if it is just the season we’re in. All of sudden, people are a little less comfortable than they were before. It appears to be happening in every aspect of life; spiritually, financially, emotionally, professionally and relationally. The question “why?” is blaring like never before. Gone are the days when people were blindly led by what was in front of them because it was shiny or “all the cool kids were doing it”. While it may look like a crop of complainers, I actually believe it’s a generation of people who are saying “I’m not going to give it if you don’t deserve it”. Want respect? Why? Want my money? Why? Companies with answers will succeed, others will be back in the lab or out of business.
When I was younger, I remember the answer to some of my questions I asked of my mother being “because I said so”. Well, maybe that’s a bad example, as I still have to accept that answer from her. However, in mainstream, food, clothing, electronics and just about every product is becoming made to order. Companies are scurrying to keep their pulse on what the flavor of the month ground swell is in the market place. Why? So they can make products that meet the needs of the new consumer. We have our own personal PR and marketing channels through Twitter, FaceBook, YouTube and others. In addition to logging our complaints and mistreatment immediately, we can create programming we’d like to see and put it online right now. With On Demand and other services like it, we see that we are getting closer to having access to different programming. Ultimately, majors like ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC and others will be competing directly with the consumer content and not with each other.
There was a time when companies would come up with “diversity” programs and tell their diverse employees what kind of program they needed to be successful at the company. Only to find out that employees were still dissatisfied. Why? Because the company had not consulted with them to find out what they needed. Now employees are deciding what, when and how, and companies are obliging for retention. Everything from the dress code to the perks offered are being dictated by the employees at greater levels. The companies who enjoy the least amount of pressure, I suspect, are those that have their employee’s best interest at heart from the top down. Companies who are still paying lip service to employee needs will be in for a rude awakening, if they don’t get on board.
Unfortunately, not everyone is utilizing our feedback system via the internet and word of mouth very fairly. Employees who stole and were fired, individuals who showed up to work late everyday and people who had behavioral problems are taking to the internet to punish a company for doing what they, themselves, would have done under those circumstances. To this degree managing corporate brands online has become increasingly more complicated and important.
Just because you wrap your soaps in a pretty package doesn’t mean we’ll buy them. Do they make my skin dry? Just because you tell me it’s organic, doesn’t mean we’re going to buy it. Is it just the pasta or is the cheese sauce with ALL the preservatives organic also? Just because you give us a job doesn’t mean we’re going to stay. What kind of succession and training programs do you have? Just because you put good looking people in your alcohol commercial doesn’t mean we’re going to buy it. Okay wait, unfortunately that one works. Next! Just because our parents bought your product, doesn’t mean we will. Is it still relevant?
Just because you said so, doesn’t mean I will. Why should I?!
Monica Cost is an author, communications strategist, brand manager and respected corporate and motivational speaker. She is the President and Founder of Evidently Assured, a communications and brand management firm. Email her at: [email protected] Follow her via Twitter: @monicacost and Facebook.com/monicahairstoncost. Coming soon www.monicacost.com and the Live Your Truth manual “The Things I Used to do to Sneeze!: How to live an authentic life with awesome sensations”. Available on 11/18/11.