Written by Inger Myklebust The recent IBM Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Study reveals that transformation is crucial to meet the consumer and build relevant brand value. More than 1700 CMOs globally participated in the study http://www-935.ibm.com/services/us/cmo/cmostudy2011/cmo-registration.html that pinpoints how fast changes in the digital era prevent necessary and needed transformation. The CMOs feels unprepared to manage the impact of factors such as data explosion, social media and growth of channels and smart devices. The consumers demand “Listen to me, know me, serve and communicate relevant with me”. This is battering consumer product companies and enhances consumer empowerment. (http://www-935.ibm.com/services/us/gbs/thoughtleadership/ibv-capitalizing-on-the-smarter-consumer.html ). Few manage to meet these changes in full and it is the CMOs responsibility together with the CEO to transform the company into a truly consumer-centric business. Embracing social media is a part of this; however, not everyone has started yet: Innovation has new dimensions 10 years ago I was Brand Manager at one of the largest consumer product companies in the Nordics. Our focus was brand positioning statements, including carefully planned product development and launches based on thorough market research and testing. This was followed by strategic media plans as well as cautious testing before implementation. Today, innovation has new dimensions. We have the opportunity to embrace consumer ideas as well as collaborate in a larger degree with both our consumers and trading partners in real time. We have the pleasure of observing interesting experimentation concerning new arenas to meet the consumers, such as the virtual product shelves of Tesco http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGaVFRzTTP4 and Procter & Gamble. http://adage.com/article/global-news/p-g-takes-subways-sell-goods/230711/ . They are researching and testing how to sell their products through virtual product shelves in subway stations, where the consumers use mobile phones to order and purchase products. To illustrate how analysis of information from social media can be bring new value: IBM conducted a project analyzing the heel heights on shoes. An analysis of social media posts identified widespread discussions around shoes globally. Next, the list was narrowed down to those who are key online influencers in the area of footwear. Special algorithms rate the popularity of these influencers. These bloggers aren’t traditional “experts” - for instance, they don’t work in the footwear industry - but they are passionate footwear enthusiasts with large groups of followers. Finally, the discussions of shoe heights were analyzed. The analysis throughout the last four years concluded that shoe heights peaked towards the end of 2009, and declined after that. These findings illustrate how sophisticated analysis of social media can be used by manufacturers in planning future products and by marketers in planning advertising campaigns. IBM determined the median heel height discussed online by those identified as important shoe mavens in the social media universe. The median height discussed peaked at seven inches in 2009 and declined to two inches this year. I believe we will see more of this type of innovative experimentation and real time analysis of consumer response and behavior. The power of the consumer through new channels and tools give consumer product companies opportunities to innovate far beyond traditional approaches. An analytic and new media capability provides new opportunities for activities to differentiate your brand from the competition. How is your company transforming to meet the future? Suggested starting point: Benchmark your company against the industry. One interesting starting point can be to benchmark your company against the industry http://ibmcmostudy.com/. Creative leadership and reinventing customer relationships are also the top priorities for the CEOs to meet the complexity of the future (http://www-935.ibm.com/services/us/ceo/ceostudy2010/). So, if you are not already in an in-depth discussion of the implications – it is time to get started!
Get the results from Black Friday and Cyber Monday! http://ibm.co/syBsfK What recession?! Consumer spending looks strong for the Holiday Season.
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