When we become so engrossed in meeting our direct customers’ needs, we forget who runs the show – the consumer. The relationship between companies and consumers is not unlike a pair of love-struck teenagers. Although dogged in its pursuit, the company doesn’t quite understand why the consumer plays hard-to-get. Meanwhile, the consumer just wants to find a company it can trust, and until then, will continue playing the field.
There are myriad options available in the marketplace, and nobody knows that better than the consumer. As columnist Carolyn Hadlock notes on page 8, Smartphones have created unlimited access to food information. This, in turn, has spawned a nation of foodies. Today’s consumers are difficult to impress, so companies must think of more creative ways to win their affections, she says.
The advent of social media has created new marketing tools to attract consumer interest. Companies can now reach a vast audience on a one-on-one level. However, as columnist Pete VonDerLinn warns on page 10, unless they identify the value exchange between the consumer and their brand, their attempts to woo the consumer will be unsuccessful.
As consumers’ infatuation with the food industry grows, they are exposed to information that could ruin companies’ reputations. Tell-all books targeting consumer audiences have raised public concern about the quality of our food and viability of our food system. A few examples are provided on pages 18 and 184. Whether you agree or disagree with the topics at hand, it is important to stay informed. Why? Because when consumers are unhappy, companies are in for a lot of heartbreak.