click to shareFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
Image representing Richard Branson as depicted...
Image via CrunchBase

In my previous post we’ve discussed the challenges that brands are facing when required to interact with their consumers directly. The main point of the post is that consumers are not satisfied anymore with presenters or low level employees, and are looking for authoritative figure to represent the company.

This post generated some very interesting comments, especially in face to face meetings I recently had with CEOs of brand and service companies.
The main point raised was that relying a company value on one person is extremely dangerous, especially for the shareholders. Many mentioned the fluctuations in Apple’s share price in response to Jobs’ health as a showcase of these dangers.

Yes, star CEOs pose a challenge to  shareholders. Larry Ellisson, Richard Branson, Steve Jobs and others are the real life incarnation of their companies. Without them, they will never be the same. But the fact is that the general direction of the relationship between consumers and brands is leading to an era that is  fundamentally different than what we were used to. Companies are already having hard time hiding behind PR pros and shiny logos. Customers want to talk, be heard, and in a sense have a meaningful relationship with companies they finance.  It is getting harder and harder to differentiate in products and technology. It is the feeling that matters. And if in the past the slogans and logos did all the work – now, the  social web is changing the expectation of consumers.

Brands are already part of the game – with their Twitter accounts, Facebook pages, and such.

There is no escape from the demise of faceless brands. You might as well wake up and smell the coffee.