In the beginning, there was agriculture. Farmers would grow crops to survive. They began to use their harvest to trade for other goods. Commerce was born.
Fast forward to the 20th century. Advertisers were kings. Mad Men could take a product, or brand, create something sleek or beautiful or catchy, and help you sell more. Marketing to the masses worked, and business was good.
Companies and advertisers had all the power. Consumers had very little power. Choices were limited, pricing was static, and you needed what the big guys were selling.
For companies, things were much simpler. Create a product and sell the product. There were clearly defined ways to go about it. If you followed them, and your product was any good, you could make money.
Today, that is no longer the case. So what happened?
Many things, but most importantly, the internet. And more recently, the social internet.
All of the sudden, consumers were presented with more options. With more options, comes pressure on the company to perform better, to be more communicative, to vary pricing, to reward loyalty, and to attract people in new and different ways.
With increased competition comes better products, and better service. Consumers are getting everything that they want. They have obtained all of the power.
Now companies cater to their every whim. The best products continue to lead the way, but even a strong company who is slow to adopt newer ways of doing business can get left behind.
Consumers want simple, they want easy, they want fast, and cheap, and convenient. And they think deserve it.