The Economist magazine’s occasional publication, strategy+business, Issue 61 (Winter 2010) carries an article entitled “The Good, the Bad and the Trustworthy”, that quotes the 2010 “Trust Barometer” survey by public relations PR firm Edelman. This study found that people believe that trust, transparency, and honest business practices influence corporate reputation more than the quality of products and services or financial performance.
Consumers, investors, regulators and the broad civil society have witnessed an ugly efflorescence of individual and corporate mendacity over the last few years. Coming as it has, in tandem with a tough economic environment and strained personal circumstances for most people, broad swathes of the corporate sector have haemorrhaged credibility and trustworthiness.
Over the last decade or perhaps more, Indian consumers have been deluged by the growth of innumerable, so called ‘teleshopping’ businesses. Products offered on these virtual store-fronts have little in common with what you would expect to find on the high street. Some actual product related quotes follow:
“Nazar Suraksha Kawach is blessed with so much extraordinary energy and power that it can guard and protect your family against the strongest supernatural forces, negative powers and evil looks.”
“Our dr. Slimming tea is an ayurvedic herbal tea which helps to cleanse the body of harmful fats and disease causing free radicals while promoting healthy weight loss. The dr. Slimming tea weight loss system is the total weight loss program complete with 100% natural and safe weight loss products that total fitness formula” (sic).
“Firoza gemstone protects the married couple from any sorts of misunderstanding and clash of opinions. The family disputes never dare to knock the doors of wearer. Also it strengthens the love between husband and wife” (sic).
“Blood Circular Massager vibrates the entire body of the user. It neither put any stress on the muscles nor it cause any harm to the body. The blood circular massager is a circulatory massager device which sends sinusoidal in the body” (sic).
“Height Increaser: Your growth potential reduces especially after puberty because your pituitary gland becomes inactive. With Height Increaser you can reactivate your pituitary gland. Besides using Height Increaser to stimulate your pituitary gland, it is also important for you to rejuvenate and revitalize your growth plate to increase your metabolism rate at the same time.”
If you were to look for a single theme that runs through all the products and claims that we have just seen above it is this. The consumer is plagued