People are walking advertisements for any brand they consume. Whether it be food, clothing, automobiles, watches, services, equipment or furniture you name it we drive it, wear it, display it and consume it.
Most of the stuff we have or consume was introduced to us through an affiliation, relationship or simple awareness of stuff we “feel” we need, want or might like. I bought an IPhone because I “heard” about its utility from a friend who had one. My wife finally bought herself an IPhone after “seeing” mine. Think about it. Most everything you have bought you’ve either heard about it from someone or seen it somewhere.
What We Hear And Where We See Things Just Changed
What we hear and see used to be largely influenced by mass media. Now people are the media and people share with people “stuff” they hear and see. No longer trusting “mass media” the reliance on a reference, a good experience and a reliable resource is driven by conversations between people, not brands.
While we are witnessing an attempt by brands to be “social” these attempts are failures to understand what “social” really means. The word social implies a characteristic of living organisms (humans in particular). It always refers to the interaction of people with other people and to their collective co-existence, irrespective of whether they are aware of it or not, and irrespective of whether the interaction is voluntary or involuntary. Notice the definition does not imply the intersection of people with “brands” which are not people rather institutions.
What Is The Social Part Of A Brand?
The social influence of a brand is relative to two attributes of influence with people.
The first attribute is value. Whether a brand delivers value in products and services is reflective of a value attribute that people migrate to. If people perceive high value then they are likely to tell others of the value they received.
The second attribute is economics which is a sub part of value. Value has many different definitions based on market segments of consumers. Economic value also comes in different forms and is driven by different perceptions. However economic value is largely influenced by money. Does the cost of the product or service represent the fair or unexpected value by the consumer. The other side of economic value creation is relative to the behavior of the brand. Does the brands interaction with society reflect social responsibility.
If a brand creates value and acts with responsibility you can rest assured that people will not only migrate to those attributes but they will “wear, consume and share” the products and services that have an affinity to their on values.
For a brand to be social they must focus on the value and economic benefits they provide we the people and society at large. For a brand to set up a “social network” or try to pay for or force conversations does not represent value or social responsibility. Instead of “pushing” slick ads or inserting yourself into our conversations try giving us “value” and being socially responsible. How would you do that? For one give back your advertising budgets to us in the form of lower cost and second let us voluntarily donate our savings to a socially responsible cause. You could also stop creating waste, trash and doing things that hurt our environment.
Impossible? Only if you believe so. Otherwise try creating conversational currency then you’ll see and hear us talking about it which is the beginning of a transaction. Get it?
What say you?