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Empowering customers via social media can have adverse effect

Last Updated: Sunday, July 28, 2013 - 14:41

Washington: Companies that empower consumers by involving them in important processes such as product development should consider their move as these attempts could backfire.

Such companies shouldn`t try to influence their consumers through social media, according to a new research.

"Peer-to-peer marketing and consumer empowerment may not be compatible. Empowered consumers resist social influence by either discounting the opinions of others or deliberately expressing opinions that diverge from those of other consumers," authors Mehdi Mourali from University of Calgary and Zhiyong Yang from University of Texas, Arlington, said.

Empowering the consumer has become a popular business practice.

For example, M and M`s, Mountain Dew, and other brands seek to empower consumers by giving them some control over product development, like they are allowed to vote on new colours, flavours, or products .

At the same time, companies are increasing their attempts to influence consumers through social media.

The authors found that some empowered consumers deliberately expressed opposing views and rebelled against attempts to influence them.

Companies that succeed in empowering their customers may find it difficult to implement a successful social media campaign.

Empowered consumers will either ignore or rebel against any perceived attempt to influence them.

The study was published in the Journal of Consumer Research.


First Published: Sunday, July 28, 2013 - 14:41

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