Why We No Longer Care About Brands
Online reviews give us all the information we need: James Surowiecki
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Feb 10, 2014 12:14 PM CST
Sony Corp. President and CEO Kazuo Hirai reacts during a press conference at the Sony headquarters in Tokyo Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014.   (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

(Newser) – Once, a company could depend on its reputation to earn sales: Customers were willing to buy a GM car or Sony device based on advertising and prior experience with the brand. Then came Consumer Reports, JD Power, and most importantly, the Internet. Now, consumers have a wealth of information on any given product at their fingertips, and they no longer need to rely on brand knowledge, writes James Surowiecki in the New Yorker. Indeed, according to a new book, "the rise of brands was a response to an information-poor environment," Surowiecki notes.

Now, some 80% of customers say they view online reviews before buying pricey items, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers study. What's more, thanks to social media, "a dud product can become a laughingstock in a matter of hours." Surowiecki points out that the phenomenon doesn't apply to status-conferring luxury items or purchases like Coca-Cola, "where the brand association is integral to the experience of a product." The winners here? Better-informed consumers, who have seen quality rise while prices don't—as well as new companies, whose quality products can quickly make a splash. Click for Surowiecki's full column.

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Showing 3 of 46 comments
FarmerMichael
Feb 11, 2014 8:11 PM CST
I loved that Google made some sites crawl when the nailed paid reviews...I buy things and am rarely am sold things...which has served me well over the years.
Hortz
Feb 11, 2014 7:12 AM CST
YES, we Do care about brands, no matter what stupid, ignorant news articles claim. Sheesh!
NSA-CIApuppet
Feb 11, 2014 4:39 AM CST
All the best stuff is free. Look for the xxx