A great post by “The Consumerist” on a social-media driven issue on Future of Artificial Dyes in Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. Mary Beth Quirk tells the story of how two bloggers triggered an online petition with over 270,000 signatures that led to a meeting between the bloggers and Kraft. Here’s a telling quote from the piece: “In a one-hour meeting with me and [the other blogger], Kraft told us they ‘can’t predict the future’ of dyes in Macaroni & Cheese,” she said. “I can give them a preview: if Kraft is anything like the hundreds of other companies facing a consumer uprising online, they’ll eventually start listening to their customers and work with us to ensure the health and safety of all Kraft Macaroni & Cheese products.” That is strong stuff!
In ConsumerShift, “Glass Houses” was one of the seven key “meta-needs” reshaping the consumer landscape. It suggested that growing numbers of consumers would shift to an activist and sometimes aggressive orientation. They would be intolerant of behavior they deem wrong and are not afraid to let the offender, or any interested party, know about it. They feel they are not to be trifled with and that their values and beliefs are important and need to be respected. These consumers are watching, often all the time. They are often savvy users of technology and expert in the world of information, and they use that to support their cause. Accountability is the buzzword; it won’t always be pleasant; and it won’t always be fair. The best an organization can do is stay consistent and true—or, closing the circle back to our first need state cluster, be authentic. “Spin” and message control and such tools will only get organizations into trouble. Telling the truth will, eventually at least, earn respect and credibility that will be appreciated and rewarded over the long haul.
Sounds like we have an interesting case example of “glass houses” here! Andy Hines