ADVERTISING guru Alistair King believes marketing rules are changing and brands are taking a back seat, making way for a strong focus on the consumer.
"Brands are no longer the centre of the universe, the consumer is," King said.
He was addressing the Nelson Mandela Bay advertising industry at the Marketers Executive Forum XTalk at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University auditorium earlier this week.
The founding and creative partner of the King James Group, King has built the group around delivering powerful creative advertising for brands such as Allan Gray, Santam, Kulula and Johnny Walker. He is frequently ranked as the number one creative director by his peers.
He said society was infinitely more entertained than ever before. In the past one had to find entertainment, today it found you, he said.
In the past communicators operated with an air of arrogance because they controlled what was placed "out there", but today consumers had a voice and could come back "with venom", especially against the backdrop of social media.
"We [marketers] will not survive today if we put the brand first," King said, adding this sentiment contradicted traditional marketing theory. "We need to seek out what consumers need, what makes them happy, what makes them laugh and what speaks to them."