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Erasmus Blues

I had my last class for the Exchange term in Milan today and it hit me that there's a good chance I will not be seeing most of the people I've befriended during my time here, again (ever!). I'm definitely going to miss the company of a few people. I hear its termed 'Erasmus Blues'.

But I cannot say the same about a single brand.

In fact, I didn't feel like I would miss any brand (even for a second) when I left India for the exchange term. And I'm not talking about brands that are common to the two countries. I have been a loyal customer of at least 15 different brands here. I'm deliberately talking about brands (as opposed to products) because product loyalty is a totally different thing from brand loyalty.

When I think of how much of my personal information is available online to brands (all those I have liked on Facebook, followed on Twitter, so on), I'm surprised that I haven't seen a single ad targeted at me even though plenty of brands had the opportunity (maybe they didn't, maybe they didn't pay attention). Any of the clothing companies I've liked could have shown me ads trying to get me to buy sweaters/jackets. The telecom brands could have shown me ads trying to get me to buy their SIM card. The Airlines could have offered me attractive round-trip prices. McDonald's could have shown me their special veg option (by special, I mean only) they have for people like me.

But I saw absolutely nothing.

Even if a single brand had done this to me, I would have probably missed that brand if I was going to a place where that had no presence.

Brands have such a huge potential to create meaningful relationships with their customers (and potential customers) thanks to social media and big data, but they are still a long way from capitalizing on what's available to them.

With opportunity staring them in the face, the brands continue to look the other way and treat social media like any other broadcasting platform.

When will they turn around?

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