A tough question with a quirky view: What if Willy Wonka had to use a Social Listening Tool?

I decided to spend my Valentine’s Friday night tucked in and watching my favorite childhood musical: Charlie and The Chocolate Factory on Netflix. The elaborate presentation of chocolate without the commercial collaborations on romance gave me some solace (my Godiva bar aside). This got me thinking: If Willy Wonka had any access to a Social Listening tool, his world would have been more insightfully multidimensional.

Now let’s ask the question again, as a business owner, ‘Do your products matter?’

I mean, who wouldn’t want an endless supply of Lickable Wallpapers or a Vanilla Fudge Mountains? Willy Wonka’s open distaste of the ‘rotten ones’ would have earned him countless trolls on his Twitter, but at least he’d have known which of all the ‘rotten ones’ are his perfect target group.

There’d have been only one way to find out: By Listening. Today, for any brand which is consumer-facing, big data analytics are the Golden Tickets to huge ROI probabilities. Product innovations (or the making of Everlasting Gobstoppers) in a highly competitive market requires precise data and insights. For instance, the present market worth for Food and health supplements is $360 Billion in India (e-commerce alone), which marks the country as the 6th largest online grocery market. It is estimated that the online grocery market will soon be compounded with an annual growth rate of 65% by 2022. This is the result of pure data, that is acquired by gathering customer feedback.

In 2020, closed feedback groups do not represent the opinions of millions of people. That’s akin to letting Violet Beauregarde and her mother giving scathing TV interviews about body-inflating blueberry chewing gum: Spells absolute disaster. What ensues, is an interesting conversation following the ‘Blueberry incident’ that highlights the damaging distance between Wonka and his consumers:

[Veruca Salt: Will Violet always be a blueberry? Willy Wonka: No. Maybe. I dunno. But that's what you get from chewing gum all day, it's just disgusting.
Mike Teavee: If you hate gum so much, why do you make it?
Willy Wonka: Once again you really shouldn't mumble, 'cause it's kinda starting to bum me out.]

Clearly, Wonka’s not a guy with great PR skills, but the tense moment provided valuable insight. These kids presented real-life consumer concerns and complaints. In the revamped universe, where Wonka did have a data analysis tool, the time would be right to identify every unique voice whoever bought a Wonka product and gather real feedback – on a real-time basis: the two essential components for the business success Wonka was awkwardly trying to achieve.

According to a study done by Yip & Blaclard, (Dec 2019, MIT Sloan, Management review) ‘Analysis of social media interactions also makes tribal marketing easier and more precise by locating groups with tastes and needs in common’. ‘Tribes’ or people who are accustomed to a brand after experiencing it firsthand tend to cultivate interest for the product among other community members – in 2020 terms – influencers. And we all know how important influencers are for brands.

The truth is that performance marketing is WAY beyond the brand’s strength of reach, impression, and engagement. Listening would have highlighted features of products in the form of data that directly converts to actionable insights because eventually, performance marketing is all about ROI.

In the revamped universe, The Wonka Candy Factory would have had a pretty active online following, a structured database full of curious customer interactions (Wonka's Whipple-Scrumptious Fudgemallow Delight would have been a campaign in itself), and the Oompa-Loompas would have made a great in-house ORM team. Charlie would have made an amicable face of the brand – hopefully with a very active Twitter account and insightful web content.

Would the Wonka products matter then?

Yes, the business would be booming, because in 2020, big data, is big money.

About the Company:

LocoBuzz is a B2B digital Enterprise SaaS company that converges AI, analytics, Big Data, and automation to provide a unified customer experience platform. We can help you increase the lifetime value of a customer by:

  • Understand, Engage and Segment your customers
  • Automated customer interactions using AI
  • Realtime Data Analytics Hub, Research and Insights
  • The campaign, Crisis and Reputation Management
  • Marketing and Advertising intelligence

Nishevita Aiyer
Client Relationship Manager
Locobuzz Solutions Pvt Ltd


MIT Sloan Management Review