Thursday, June 23, 2005

The more things change, the more they stay the same

From a recent Seth Godin blog post:

To date, with the exception of easy (and juicy) black and white scandals,
consumers of all stripes have been resistant to taking action with their
dollars. Part of it is laziness, part of it is selfisness and part of it is
a long history of a laissez faire disconnect between what we spend and what
we believe.

I think that's about to change.

Why does Seth think we are going to change and react to the companies that we find objectionable in the marketplace? Seth even acknowledges that consumers are resistant to change.

From my perspective, "the more things change the more they stay the same" seems more appropriate than Seth's last sentence.

Many people can remember boycotting products at one time or another when we heard a story about how the company had acted inappropriately.

Examples include the use of child labor by a prominent clothing company (can you name the company?) or the conviction of a household diva for securities infractions (can you name the celebrity CEO?). Both examples (temporarily) impacted the companies involved, but the business continued and, given time and distance from the "story" have been able to remain a strong business entity.

Perhaps Seth means that stories can travel faster nowadays and if a story is sufficiently impactful, it could shake consumers out of their "laziness" or "selfishness" or "laissez faire disconnect" and get them to take action.

I'm not sure I agree. I think consumers are becoming more and more fragmented and a story that impacts one group won't necessarily impact others. Are consumers going to "care more" about issues that might not directly inpact their well being? I don't see a trend in this direction, but perhaps Seth sees something that we are missing.

It will be very interesting to see how Seth develops his idea and since he is the leading expert on the spread of ideas, I will certainly be paying attention to his blog over the coming months!

Write On !

Dave Wheeler


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