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Martin Lindstrom, branding and marketing expert: ‘Brandwashed’

Martin LindstromMartin Lindstrom calls for an ethical line in the sand for the future development of brands using social media

One of the leading marketing and brand development strategists, Martin Lindstrom, advocates consumer use of social media to drive ethical standards.

Advisor to Fortune 100 brands and a top-selling author, he explores the increasing convergence of social bonds and marketing strategy and its impact on human psyche in his latest book – Brandwashed.

Social media, he says has both positive and negative sides. It is good in that it gives empowerment back to the consumer – at least that is the perception – and while most companies pretend that the consumer has the power, the reality is very different.

Consumers, believing they have been empowered, are now harnessing social media to build up and tear down brands. But many companies are guilty of manipulating these consumer decisions. Consumers, he says, need to wake up and become savvy to these influences and use social media more responsibly.

Mr Lindstrom uses Brandwashed to reveal some of the tricks used by companies to persuade consumers to buy their products.

Speaking at Cambridge Judge Business School, he said that in a few cases companies observe, listen and react to consumer views.

“There are cases that are good but in a lot of instances today consumers are led by lies.

“I think social media can be used to put pressure back on companies. It a matter of the consumer waking up and not believing this is a passive game.

“They need to be much more active and by active I mean they need to put pressure on companies in terms of privacy, in terms of the information shared and used from their online behaviour. That’s really the reason why I wrote Brandwashed, because I believe most consumers have no idea about what goes on behind the scenes.”