Posted on: Wednesday 25th of February 2009
Because it’s something every organisation needs to come to grips with. Its implications are counterintuitive, and they include the fact that empowering consumers/customers is fast becoming the way for organisations to add value.
I can see three waves of consumer empowerment. The first wave revolved around consumers exercising choice between competing products and services. That’s as old as the hills.
The second wave, which only really got going about ten years ago, revolves around consumers exercising choice between competing sources of information – why bother paying attention to info that gets in the way of what you want to do, when you can go to sources of information that help you achieve your goals better?
The third wave is only just beginning now. It reaches beyond empowering content to empowering processes – using the tools and fruits of the information age to organise and manage our lives better. This includes exercising voice as well as choice – where ‘bottom up’ rather than ‘top down’ flows of information from individuals to organisations move centre stage.
The bottom line is simple.
Yesterday, organisations embedded value into products and services which they then sold to consumers who consumed this value. A process that put the organisation in the driving seat.
Increasingly, as waves two and three mature, organisations will need to work with individuals in ways that help those individuals achieve their own goals. This is a new way of creating value that puts the individual in the driving seat.
In other words, the changing nature of ‘consumer empowerment’ is also changing:
- what value looks like
- how it’s created and delivered
- via what sorts of relationships
- and how success is measured (by new and different metrics).
That sounds like a pretty interesting – and important – agenda to explore!