It’s nothing personal?

A heated discussion about modern animation and animation from twenty years ago yielded an argument of The company doesn’t need to cater your needs, just the core audience’s. This kind of argument always stops me, and makes me wonder who is this idiot I’m discussing with. With Internet’s anonymity, it’s a valid question.

It’s true to an extent that it’s nothing personal when a company doesn’t wish to cater my wishes. Then again, it’s nothing but personal when it’s my money on the line. There’s a fused line within the companies between being strictly business and being personal. However, companies that treat their customers on strictly business have not really succeeded well asthe companies that at least appear to care about their customers on a personal level.

It’s important for companies that you as a customer feel that you can trust the company; that you wish to purchase their products with your money. If a company loses that trust, they lose money to the competing camp. So, it is personal, but on a different level than on daily basis with another person. Actually, most companies would wish that you’d see them as some sort of benevolent entity rather than as a company.

So, when a company you’ve supported for years, perhaps even decades *coughnintendocough* decides that they stop producing products for you and still wish for you to purchase them, it’s a personal attack alright. It’s about business, but this kind of change nowadays usually stems from the company workers wanting to do their own thing and disregarding the customers. It is rather difficult to determine what customers want through advertising and research, but combining that with historical research of what has sold well in the past, you can’t go too wrong.

Whenever I hear a company aiming to broaden their customer base, I become very careful. When they say this, the most probable thing they’re saying is that We made this product according to our ideas on what the general populace wants rather than actually do something that the general audience would like. This doesn’t just apply to video games, but this can be seen in film and music industries as well. It’s really a common problem, and when a company decides to revamp their products like this, either by “rebooting” it or just changing it on the fly, the results are usually catastrophic.

Just as simple product as a milk can be spoiled this way. Not really the product itself in this case, but the overall image of the product. Some of the Finnish dairy product companies revamp the image of their milk containers at certain intervals, and very few times customers have found themselves repulsed by a revamp. This is because these companies have a very clear image and on what kind of values they represent. This is personal to the customer just as the companies wish them to be. One represents pure Finnish milk, the second represents more pure agriculture and its values with traditions, and the third is pretty much the good and cheap solution. Each of the three have their own loyal customers, and when the image of the product is changed, the loyalty may weaken if not done correctly.

Whenever somebody tells you that companies do not need to cater to your interests, please tell this person that yes, if they ever want your money and thus more business, they better cater your needs. If a company doesn’t want your money, something is seriously wrong in the company structure. Not wanting tosucceed more, or at all, is a huge red flag for investors and employees alike. It’s better to bail from a company like this rather than sit and watch it wither. This might sound harsh, but there is no value in company that doesn’t want to do monetary business and profit.

It is completely possible to cater these so-called mainstream audience while keeping the core customers. What this takes is to create the best possible product that would sell. It doesn’t necessary need to be something new, but it would help. However, it just needs to be extremely good, a game changer if possible. Creating such a product doesn’t mean dumbing down anything or taking something from the overall product. On the contrary, to make such a product you need to work more to refine those elements and perfect the details. It’s more common that elements are taken off and toned down for the core audience, as they’re known to purchase the product anyway regardless of its quality. Naturally, the things that the core audience likes most are added as the time goes by, but these things most likely won’t meet with the general audience. Which is pretty sad, considering that there are loads of potential customers ignored.

It’s the Red Ocean Vs. Blue Ocean argument again. Why would a company knowingly wish to limit the amount of customers they could have? I’d love to say that it’s entertaining to hear people defending their favourite company with such zeal, but it just gives me a headache. None of the companies are there for the customer. If they’re smart, the companies are there for the money and that also means to cater your wishes and needs with near perfection. A stupid company would only cater their own interests and needs, or would only listen to the loudmouthed minority.

So yes, there are a lot of personal things going on when a company stops catering my wants. I can only vote with my wallet and wish them to stop being jerks and notice that competing where other companies compete as well is not the healthiest business model. There are always alternatives, they just need to be weeded out and dug up beneath all the Red. Sometimes it happens naturally, sometimes you might need to ask around. Game industry offers older games on their modern services, which is a great alternative for new games, and the same can be said of films and music services as well. It’s really a bad sign when the customers are looking back at the past because they keep hearing about these great things that once were and barely notice the new things that are coming in the horizon.

We can always go back to the old things, but that just means that it’s money from the currently new products that truly support the industries. By purchasing products that you wish to support the most, you can make a large impact. After all, it’s about your money and who gets it. It’s pretty damn personal.

To end this in a bit lighter mood, let’s just put this on and let the beat take us away. It’s Christmas time anyway, thou that’s no reason to have your service getting weaker. You’ve got a whole year to get ready for the season…

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