The Omnipotent Shopper: Power to the People

Please note: this post originally appeared on the Omnishopper blog.

Not long ago (70s and 80s) power rested in the hands of brands. Then, over time (80s and 90s), the power transferred to mass retail. And, in the age of the internet, we have seen a shift community having more power. The last stop on this power trip is the person, not as a shopper, consumer or guest, but as a human being.

Omnipotent: Def; Having unlimited power, able to do anything.

We live in a time when the people have the power to respond in force to a brand’s inconsistencies. Peter Horst starts off this conference with a few stats and stories to help us understand this new state.

Only 37% of people trust CEOs to do what is right.

Audi produces a great commercial to bring tears to the eyes of any father or daughter. The focus is pay equity between men and women, yet Audi forgot to look at their sausage fest of a boardroom. Audi puts a girl in the seat of a soap box racing car but forgets to put a girl in the boardroom seat.

Budweiser spends a year putting together a Super Bowl ad about their founder story, because they see all these craft brewers taking slices from their beer pie. It launches right after the Trump immigration order and the backlash is brutal for a brand with only good intentions.

Genuflect to the all powerful shopper, a human being.

People can see everything and anything can be important to them at any given day. A brand owner’s control over communication must feel like pressing a broken brake pedal while careening down a mountainside drive. And, the more they love or hate your brand, the more likely you’ll find yourself behind the wheel of what feels like an uncontrollable situation.

What do you do if your brand team is paralyzed by fear? Here are some things to consider when facing this current state:

1. Brands are living organisms in our community and that’s a good thing. We have high expectations that they represent what is good about our society and lead by having a point of view. Don’t shy away due to fear, face it
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2. If you put yourself into a mass medium with your point of view, be sure to have the rest of your house in order. With millions of people looking for holes in your story it’s like having a herd of velociraptors hunting a naked fat man in the jungle. Get yourself in shape and put on some clothes.

3. Humanize your brand by looking at every mole, dimple and wart. If brands are citizens in our community, what type of citizen are you? Take the time to know thyself and if you need a shave and good haircut, make it so.

4. Get to know your community, they are your first line of defense. If you have a strong community, they’ll defend you with louder voices and stronger arguments. But you need to make sure they’re with you on the issue at hand - these are your fanatical fans, but they're also human beings.

This should get a team started. The current state is not a temporary blip with a finish line in under four years, this is the future state. The political environment is merely a reflection of what’s happening to our culture using this powerful new technology.

Thank you and we look forward to the heroic brands we love taking a lead. Kitty Hart, Lucy Robb and I write for the OmniShopper event blog, please reach out if you have a story to share.

Aaron Keller
Founder, Capsule Design
Author, The Physics of Brand

About The Author

Aaron Keller

I am an author, strategist, researcher, cyclist, reader and consummate entrepreneur. When an interesting idea crosses my path, I find any way we can bring it to life. Earning an MBA from the Carlson School and numerous valuable credits at the school of hard knocks, I’ll sit at a boardroom conversation with anyone. Want to talk business strategy, consumer behavior and design? Oh, it’s on.


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