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Blogs threat to business? Only in consultancy land…

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Apparently, YouTube and blogs threaten retail:

…Deloitte cited online commerce, greater
transparency in product information, and the PR ramifications of sites
like YouTube as among the leading threats to traditional retail.
"In some ways," the report states, "consumers have reached a level of
information parity with retailers," making comparison shopping and
product quality research easier.

To put this in the same convoluted speak, the "information asymmetry gamble" with your customers is no
longer possible. Great news!

This, in turn, will further reduce
"the value of, and need for retail workers who actually try to sell the
consumer something."

Would these retail workers be marketers? If so, I have been saying this for years! But would anyone listen…?! [mutters animatedly whilst typing the rest of the post].

And that is far from all that should keep retailers awake at night:

The Internet presents a third threat by allowing consumers and
activists to rapidly disseminate damaging information or opinions about
companies, including retailers–a capacity amply demonstrated in
2005-2006. Angry consumers can use blogs and sites like YouTube as
platforms for their frustrations.

But wait, not all is lost!

However, the outlook
isn’t all gloomy, according to the same analysis. Returning to YouTube,
the authors noted that "at any one time, three to five of the top 100
most frequently watched videos will be ads." Indeed, "Some of the more
effective advertisements on YouTube are both entertaining and so subtle
that it’s hard to even tell if they were meant to be advertisements."

So don’t worry about retail workers, just produce more funny and subtle ads – that’ll be the first from advertising industry – and Bob’s your uncle.

The report has a rather strange way with words – retail workers (you can tell I am taken by the phrase), angry consumers disseminate damaging information (you’d think they are some propaganda-mongers), and the use of child labor, environmentally unfriendly suppliers or other
questionable activity can and will be unearthed by business-hostile
NGOs to discredit your brand
. How dare they!

There is no mention of the fact that ‘questionable activity’ unearthed is not the issue. It is no news that it’s merely a matter of time before companies won’t be able to hide behind PR and other ‘questionable’ communication skillz. The issue is  that if ‘business-hostile NGOs’ want to ‘discredit your brand’ unfairly, driven by their own not-so-transparent agenda, the same tools and environment enable companies to defend themselves directly and as effectively. And that is good news for everyone.

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One Response to “Blogs threat to business? Only in consultancy land…”

  1. alan p
    on Feb 14th, 2007
    @ 10:53 am

    I loved the “information asymmetry gamble” one – must use it in my next consulting report :)

    However, I have noticed a huge rush into “Web 2.0″ by the PR industry in the last 6 months or so (mainly into Social Media) so it is probably a bit optimistic to think that the ‘net will make information asymmetry workers redundant…..

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