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  • Writer's pictureBruno Lino

Consumers are protagonists because technology allows them to. This behavior confronts industrial val

The fast moving consumer goods industry has been witnessing consumer ́s increasing protagonism. Away from a past of reduced, massive and inflexible communication and product supply, consumers are nowadays able to interfere in production, from video creation to new products and standards. New businesses and even individuals are leading the market in three service/product standards consumers can no longer afford to give up: horizontality in communications; clear product/service role and consumption experience.

Being horizontal is a challenge for the classic FMGC communication model. Consumers today are used not only to reply live to Company ́s statements and mistakes in social networks, but also to co- create the messages companies send to the market. Consumers are the leaders of dialogs, and companies can at most help them tell their own stories. Social movements that can gather brands and consumers in a single objective become the communication arena TV shows used to provide in the past. Running is an obvious exemple, providing endless content opportunities for brands such as Nike, Adidas and Puma.

The rise of the app era brought the objective connection of product/service with the solution of clear daily life needs. A Uber is a click away from consumers, sharing the ride bill or the car with other consumers is just another click away. The consumer is spoiled and wants exactly what he needs. The world of abstract, inspiring campaigns and benefits is subordinated to product role in people ́s lives. And marketers must believe it is not a less noble practice. The Human and Cultural Insights department in the Coca-Cola Company Brazil has led efforts to bring the role of product back to campaigns, innovation and market execution. If refreshment is a product ́s key deliverable, for instance, the product should own the aesthetics of refreshment, the development refreshment gadgets, and cannot afford to sell partially cooled product.

The development of the shared economy also brought challenging behaviors for FMGC companies. Separating the notion of owning a product from using a product leads consumers to buy and stock up less; whereas, developing the notion that experiencing something is more important than owning something leads consumers to undervalue products that do not deliver experiences or services. A whole set of experiences and manners of consumption is about to be created and discovered to maintain FMGC products relevant in this scenario. Signatures and added-services are the first steps the industry is taking towards a more situational relationship of consumers with products.

Consumers are protagonists because, as seen, technology allows them to. This behavior confronts industrial values of control and prevision. Tradicional companies appear to be struggling to give up some of this control to consumers and get used to it. Creativity lies on the creation of new commercial platforms to revamp the relevance of the relationship between Companies and consumers according to this trend of shared control over brands, products and services.

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