September 2017
The Consumer is Always...

Jeffrey Spear - President, Studio Spear

Jeff Spear

Brand owners and retailers used to say, “The consumer is always right.” Nowadays, it seems they are taking a somewhat different approach.


Have you noticed that, when it comes to customer service, sales representatives have become increasingly indifferent. Instead of "the customer is always right, they appear to have revised the statement to read, “The consumer is always there...” with the unstated sentiment “... no matter how we treat them.”

Along these lines, I’ve been noticing how commonplace it’s become for a limited number of brands to dominate a category and operate with seeming indifference towards quality and service. It’s not that I have any immediate objection to these larger brands. It’s just that their practices minimize options and leave little room for consumer satisfaction.

If we return to the notion that the consumer is always right, and trends clearly indicate that consumers are seeking out more personalized service, accountability and product integrity, I would think business leaders would be scrambling to accommodate.

I get the impression that operators 1) prefer to do business with as few suppliers as possible, regardless of what this means in terms of product variety or quality; 2) are unwilling to embrace change in any meaningful way; and 3) are selfish and completely indifferent towards their customers.

We are already witnessing an engaged buying public, expressing their dissatisfaction with anything from the design of logos (Gap) and packaging (Tropicana) to the use of unsavory ingredients (pink slime, also known as lean finely textured beef - LFTB). And due to this public outcry, we are beginning to see more and more companies looking deeper into their supply chain; validating relationships at every level of operation, verifying working conditions and offsetting potential violations of basic human rights.

If you are looking to align your brand with meaningful quality and service, there are two core issues to embrace. The first is WIIFM - an acronym meaning "What's In It For Me?" This is the question that is always in the mind of buyers prior to making a purchase. If you can answer this question quickly, honestly and in a relevant manner, you are on the road towards success.

The second issue is creating a "Win-Win." In a nutshell, this means that the transaction is fair and balanced. When a buyer recognizes value in your offer, he or she walks away feeling satisfied from the experience. At the same time, you have made a worthwhile sale and initiated a potentially longer-term relationship.

The opportunity lies in the fact that old-fashioned brands have become complacent. They are too fat and too arrogant to notice that people are craving better products, better service and greater respect from the companies they do business with. The bottom line is that buyers are not as ignorant as some would believe and can smell a fraud from a distance. More importantly, they vote with their wallets.


If the time has come to overhaul, update and re-invigorate your brand image, or you'd like to change up your marketing program, please call 904 685 2135 - ask for Jeff Spear. You can also contact Jeff via email:

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