If the consumer is king, today is his reign of terror because of his instant connection to the world wide web. With a phone in our hands we decide where to eat based on Yelp and get directions to find our way there. Memes travel at the speed of light. We google the diagnosis the doctor gave us. And we unite when there is a problem. Companies like Bank of America and Tropicana have experienced this public outcry first hand – both withdrew meekly after the people used the web to make their vengeance known.
“44 percent of all U.S. mobile subscribers now have smartphones. Among those who purchased a new mobile phone in the last three months, 56 percent chose smartphones” (Nielsen).
“The kind of business move that used to generate mild grumbling and then grudging acceptance,” writes Buchanan, “now brings immediate denunciations, viral social-media protests, front-page headlines, and the worst fate of all: being made an example of.” Buchanan points to three companies – Netflix, Verizon, and Bankof America – which recently suffered the wrath of unhappy customers” (The Conference Board).
We know how to use consumers to inspire and guide our work, but can we moderate the conversation that follows?