Why would you try to improve/change your product? Haven’t you learned from facebook that change is not good? Tongue, meet cheek..cheek, tongue. As many a parent probably knows, Pampers changed things up a bit with their diapers and rolled out Dry Max diapers — which are now under attack for causing chemical burns. I will say this: I HAVE NOT USED THESE DIAPERS and I AM NOT CRITICIZING PARENTS THAT HAVE RUN INTO ISSUES WITH THESE DIAPERS. I made that in caps in case someone doesn’t have time to read the whole thing. My thoughts are on the mechanics of the situation.
As I have noted before, perception is king. Overall, I do not question that some kids are developing rashes from the diapers — that is bound to happen (at a low percentage). It’s when a facebook fan page opens up and every rash is suddenly a “chemical burn” that I get concerned. Are these all chemical burns — or is their a feeling of strength in numbers? In other words, is it a perception change? I am not a defender of big companies, but I also don’t blame them for everything. They hurt and help all at the same time.
But why am I concerned? facebook relented and went back to what everyone was accustomed to doing/reading/posting, etc. — which means they (facebook) will have a hard time moving forward. Change is hard — but it drives progress not only for the company, but for us all. Is it facebook I am worried about –no– it’s when more and more companies begin to relent. The Pampers situation is a little different –since their issue impacts health/children and facebook’s change impacted, well, nothing — but it is the same in that the consumer has a voice 100x louder than what it was even 10 years ago and companies are now reacting for what could be all the wrong reasons.
In The Hidden Persuaders (Vance Packard, 1957 — get it here: The Hidden Persuaders), Vance Packard describes a simple test (derided by many for the simplicity and non-scientific nature) where housewives (his word, not mine) in the 1950s were given three boxes of detergent, each with a different design. Responses varied — with some saying that the detergent in one of the samples actually damaged their clothing. You know the story — the detergent was the same in each box. My question — if Pampers had not noted the change, would we see the same level of complaints? if we didn’t have social networks to light all the torches before we storm the castle, would everyone still show up?
In the end, Pampers could very well be in the wrong. I am not defending nor attacking them. All the upset parents on facebook — could be absolutely right. I don’t argue any of it. I simply ask everyone to do what we ask of our own children — think for yourself and think before you act (blame).
More info: Wall Street Journal article
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