Brands Are People Too

by Brian Haven
@ 10:45 AM

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» Brand
» Marketing
» Social Media



So many companies have ventured into social media (and more will continue to) — Pete's already documented the efforts. But one of the biggest problems we see is that companies implement an initiative and watch to see what happens. And it simply doesn't work very well.

Think about what you would look like if you behaved like a brand. Imagine a party with a group of people standing together talking. You walk up, introduce yourself, and make a statement like, "Barack Obama has no right being our president." Then you walk away. Now, you don't know the political persuasions of the people you just uttered that statement to, but you can't just drop a bomb on a conversation like that and walk away.

Or imagine that you invite a bunch of people you know (some well, some not so well) over to your house for a party. When people show up the door is open, the lights are on, there are music and refreshments inside, but you are nowhere to be found. People might wander in to party anyway, but it just isn't the same.

It just happened recently. Pete's already on top of this Motrin situation, and David Armano has documented the the lack of response (or the default to an older channel to do so).

One of the core components of a social media strategy is to understand that brands are people too. Brands have to respond back and participate in the conversation. Employees will take the actions and interact, but that rolls up as an embodiment of the brand.

I think there are several key elements that dictate how brands must behave that defines their personification within a community. The relationships between brands and customers must be:

  1. Enduring — Social interactions aren't campaigns, these are relationships.
  2. Empathetic — Brands need to relate to, acknowledge, and react to its friends' needs.
  3. Mutalistic — This is a symbiotic relationship; both parties must benefit, not one at the expense of the other.
  4. Growing — The relationship must evlove over time, becoming something different and better.
  5. Understanding — You will disagree at times, but you must reconcile and learn from your differences and mistakes.
  6. Active — Conversations need to be frequent so you know what each other is experiencing (and so you can help each other).

My colleagues have already been talking about similar things. As Kate so aptly pointed out, I wonder what kind of identity crisis this will invoke. And I'll let Pete decide how this impacts the Ego Trap.


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