The New Definition of “Consumer”

A profound yet often overlooked transformation is occurring in regards to how companies view the consumer. In the past, a business operated with the objective of getting the public to consume their product or service. Today, successful companies are operating with the objective of getting the public to consume their BRAND. That might sound subtle, but it’s actually an incredible distinction.

Brand consumption today means the devouring of massive amounts of content – from videos to pictures, articles to apps, social interactions to two-way conversations. And all of this goes back to a basic observation that was made in the academic marketing field some 20 years ago: the power of broadcast media is declining.

As Gary Vaynerchuk has pointed out, today’s empowered consumer has the ability to pick and choose what people, things, and even advertisements enter their stream of consciousness. And just like a rebellious teenager who doesn’t want to be constantly told what to do by a controlling parent, consumers will no longer accept being told what to buy without the opportunity to provide their input. Welcome to the new paradigm.