We all know about the new economy revolution. It’s all changing:
the way we shop, the way we do business, the way we communicate.
An implication of this is changes for the leading players in the
marketplace over the past 50 or even 100 years.
The whole advertising and marketing industry grew up largely around what
we used to call FMCG firms. But recently we have seen a whole new
category of business. This new category will be the dominant influence
on those joining the advertising and marketing industry this decade.
For FMCG now read FMCS: fast-moving consumer services. This is the term
I have coined to sum up the new category, which embraces many of the
dotcoms and old economy firms in the early stages of transformation.
A telling example of the latter kind of business is Unilever, which
recently announced a shift of emphasis from domestic cleaning products
toward domestic cleaning services - from products to people.
With price transparency across Europe, retailers and manufacturers are
having to differentiate on service rather than on product. Supermarkets
now deliver to your door or work place. Banks and financial providers
fight to deliver new and ever faster services.
The internet, of course, is a great enabler in this process. But it is
only one element in the mix. The whole development of customer
relationship management and the means of tracking and developing these
relations, either through conventional or new channels, has highlighted
the importance of services over products.
Seismic shifts lie ahead for the FMCGs as they grapple with this threat
- or opportunity.
Those of us in the brand consulting sector have our work cut out trying
to anticipate the impact of these changes. Branding intangible services,
rather than tangible products, has always been more complex and
All of us will have to address this bigger task, and deliver it faster