Time for a (second) Copernican revolution


Thirteen years ago the researchers Judie Lannon and Virginia Valentine had cause to note:

Like a planet in the sky, marketers imagine that the brand can be controlled to shine as brightly as possible so that the consumer notices it. It sends out carefully calibrated messages so that the consumer, like a moon, feels the gravitational pull and is drawn towards it, remaining in orbit.”

The “satellite consumer” as they characterised it, was always an inaccurate and unhelpful notion.

The idea that people want to engage in “a constant dialogue” with brands does nothing to get us out of this rut.

And as Henry Jenkins has put it:

Too often, Web 2.0-era companies speak about creating communities around their products and services, rather than recognizing that they are more often courting existing communities with their own histories, agenda, hierarchies, traditions, and practices”.

Placing our brand at the center of things makes a mockery of any claims to be “consumer-centric”.

It is time for us to move on.


Henry Jenkins, ‘If it doesn’t spread it’s dead (part three): The gift economy and commodity culture’

Judie Lannon & Virginia Valentine: ‘The 21st Century Consumer: A New Model of Thinking’, International Journal of Market Research: Vol. 42, No. 2, 2000


One comment

  1. jdv273

    Calling the person who replies to all people’s Facebook and Twitter comments a “community manager” makes it worse: It implies that these people are a community, but they aren’t: they’re individuals.

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