The F-Factor

Benjamin Bouwman  (original 15/09/2012   –    Edited on 26/03/2013)

In the early days it use to be that the costumer was king. But not anymore. Now the customer needs to be a fan or a friend or a follower. If your costumers don’t have the F-Factor your company could be in trouble.

Not a day goes by or consumers are browsing through their networks of friends, fans, and followers to discover, discuss and purchase goods and services. As a result, it’s never been more important for brands to make sure they too have the F-FACTOR.
For example do you people realize that three quarters of Facebook users have ‘Liked’ a brand (Source: AdAge/ Ipsos, February 2011) and over 50million users ‘like’ brands every day (Source: BrandRepublic, May 2011) These numbers are unbelievable.
It is getting extreme important for consumers and for companies to get fans. This is not an hype, or fashion, nor craze. The influence is too big. Almost everybody is on facebook, people connect with brands and organizations like never before. It has become a lifestyle. And as I explain later on it is changing the norms and values about your friends without you fully realizing it.

Basically the F-FACTOR brakes down to this:
This is the glorious moment you find something on your network, for example trusting your friend who says who bought a new toothbrush. And you never heard of this amazing new toothbrush, but luckily for you your friend added a link and you buy five of them.
The internet is full of user rated content, especially in reviews. If you like a pair of pants, you are in most cases just two clicks away of a whole community who likes those pants and can discuss them and will rate and review them and more importantly you trust them.
F-FEEDBACK: You are asking your social network more often to validate a purchase you did. You want feedback from your friends.
F-TOGETHER: Shopping becomes a social something by itself. Which is remarkable as in most cases the consumer and their peers are not together anymore in the same room or in the same country for that matter.
F-ME: How social networks for consumers turn into a service or a product itself.

If you look at the Trend Pyramid, only judging from the time line it’s a micro trend. But you can see how this already in less than five years this is a megatrend.
The F-Factor is everywhere.
This trend will stand the test of time, and will only get bigger. Our human need to want to know what other people think will keep this one alive. Now a day’s its more than normal that you like your favorite products and companies are jumping on the bandwagon by, for example, special offers, sneak peeks, or simply buying a product can only be done if you like them on Facebook.
So in its lifecycle we are heading into the major majority phase, and we are going to stay there for a while.

Now a days it’s even a way to judge people. I see it in my own digital life.
If I log in on Facebook and I see people for example liking Anime, well that’s just a shame. I won’t go as far as unfriend them, but you can see how this effects for example a hardcore Apple lover who sees that a friend on Facebook likes the Samsung Tablet. Or a fan of the Star Wars movies that sees a review that a friend linked about how those movies sucks and Star Trek is way better.

And what about you? Could you honestly say you don’t judge if your see what people like on facebook? Is this sheeplike behavior of wanting to know what other people think really that important? The F-Factor will dominate the social media for years and years to come.



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