Some investor has had the audacity to file Class action lawsuit filed against Microsoft over Surface RT claims, saying that reports that the RT was selling well were patently false. Our demand analytics show that the Surface RT chugged along at the same rate as launch. If anything, recent discounts have raised demand for what might turn out to be an orphaned branch of the Windows family tree.
What companies haven’t built a huge inventory expecting insane sales only to learn the hard way that markets take time to absorb new experiences. Even the vaulted iPhone only sold a few million during the first year. I am surprised the same investors are not suing Samsung for their gaff over the Galaxy S4 demand. To be fair, all of the RT tablets have seen anemic demand with only the Surface RT standing out at all. As you can tell from the graph above, consumers that bought the Surface RT held it in higher regard than the early iPad Gen 4 users. The Surface Pro only recently was eclipsed by the iPad Gen 4. While sales of the Surface RT did not match the hopes and dreams of Microsoft and the Windows faithful, it has successfully carved out a good niche in the tablet market and did not see a drop in demand in July as the case would have you believe. If Microsoft is guilty of anything, it is enthusiastic optimism.
Let us know if we can help you dig deeper as to what parts of the Surface RT experience delight and disappoint consumers.
We see the rotten fruits of click farms in the data we collect and the insights we cull for our clients every day. We continue to find new ways to distinguish real people from bots, sort the farms from real fans. Part of what we find is disturbing. Some brands are paying click farms to boost their results, justifying chat rooms filled with posers saying that if the party isn’t big enough real consumers won’t show up. Challenge is, real consumers are smarter than everyone realizes. They sniff out staged buzz bonanzas and shift their time, attention, and hard earned cash somewhere else. We see fake reviews voted down by consumers routinely in our analysis of consumer purchase behavior.
Many consumers click the like/fan button only for a quick hit, a free can of syrupy sweetness or mp3 download of the latest BeiberPerryLake song. This isn’t a relationship, its a drive buy. But for how brands measure their effectiveness in social today, it works. Likes go up, follower counts soar and the balance sheet doesn’t budge. Like spam, click farms only exist because it works, there’s a market for it, at times the very brands that loose the most from the actions of these farms, brand trust by consumers.
With the advancing tide of social engagement sweeping through Madison Avenue, Main Street and Wall Street, there is a rise of a particularly destructive disease, Brand Blindness. Brand Blindness occurs when brand blindly leverage these low cost, broad reach platforms to drive the wrong message to the wrong audience for the wrong offering. I recently received an email from Samsung offering an enticing dorm bundle for their back to school promotion. Given the ad, you would like I was a 19 year old college bound woman rather than an over forty male that hasn’t lived in a dorm for almost 20 years.
I’m sure you all have received posts like this and not just the endless spam for little blue pills, but ads from reputable Global 1000 companies that show how little they know of our habits, interest, or context. When our daughters will just born, I bought a box of Pampers baby diapers from Amazon.com. Price was good, usage at home was high, everyone wins, right? Except for the next six years I got ads from Amazon for diapers. Not bigger diapers, the same size diapers, for six years…
The brands are blind to context, blind to who we are and what it means to live our lives. Most companies have spent millions trying to create recommendation engines that tell what offer retailers should shove in our face next, predictive analytics to determine which path through the maze of offers and coupons is mostly likely to get us to buy, endless scenarios of A-B testing, all devoid of context. A-B testing does not help find C. Recommendation engines are based on what others bought not what consumers enjoy. And predictive analytics can only optimize the road most traveled.
This Brand Blindness hit AXE Body spray in a big way in early 2012. They had just launched their unisex scent (odor) Anarchy with a huge ad splash, interactive web comic on YouTube, and met with one of the worst launches that year. Argus Insights was doing a social campaign best practices project with Butler, Stern, Shine and Partners where AXE and Old Spice were one of the brand pairs we were studying. AXE stuck in our study of over 10 brand pairs in that it had the highest percentage of negative mentions, including twitter memes like “Dear Axe Body Spray, Please put a suggested serving size on your bottle. Sincerely, Choking Girls Everywhere.”
AXE launched the Anarchy the way they had launched all of their other products, videos of attractive women losing it over hopeful young men just after drenching themselves in product. Now, they were launching a product targeted at the 50% of the population missing from their sales but using an approach and brand story proven to annoy the target. Blind as a bat with it’s ears plugged…
Brand Blindness is effecting us all. We’re working on a cure at Argus Insights so that branding/product disasters like this do not continue to bleed resources from companies or drive increased distance between brands and their consumers. Help is on the way.