Did you know that at the recently concluded Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2015 show in Las Vegas exhibited some interesting products on display that included many crowd sourced projects which are funded by Kickstarter and Indiegogo. These products ranged from 3D printers, software to the immensely popular wearables segment.
It’s true – with cloud and mobile technologies taking centre stage, today’s consumers can play an active role in the production value chain. And hardly surprising- they already are! Even large consumer product companies are reaching out to their customers to crowd source new product designs giving rise to a growing phenomenon called ‘the new sharing economy’.
A recent campaign that perhaps best exemplifies this new culture is the ‘Share a Coke’ promotion. The cola company brought the brand to a highly personal level by swapping out its logo with real peoples’ names on the cans and bottles. The company selected some of the most common and popular names in the particular market, printing them on cans and billboards – not only did this create a sense of immediacy but it also rode on consumers’ growing interest in sharing.
Consumers today crave for more connections. For this, they are willing to let go of their privacy if it can improve their access and gain on-demand service. The result is the creation of a PROsumer – someone who takes an active a part in the production and delivery of a good/service as in the consumption. While this concept has prevailed for a while – after all every time a consumer has served herself at a fast food restaurant or at an ATM machine she is acting in the role of PROsumer. However, we have come a long way from this traditional role to a more dynamic one in which the PROsumer has begun to dictate a tailor-made product/service experience. Today, s/he is demanding a ‘make for me’ product/service.
But what does this mean for companies today? Are we looking at a future when consumers usurp the power of the brand? A recent research by Havas Worldwide on Prosumers conducted highlights that the prosumers will dictate the way goods and services are created and exchanged while the media company predicts this is the new wave of consumerism – an age of collaborative consumption.
Successful companies will be those that proactively engage and collaborate with their consumers across the entire value chain. It will be those that move away from a one-size-fits-all approach to create a hyper personalized future for their consumers. What will facilitate this trend is surrender to the digital proliferation in our lives and rather than spell the death knell of the brand, it will in fact spur the growth of companies.
Published with permission.
Image courtesy of [photostock] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net