Brands Pretending To Be Human

by Jay Deragon on 01/25/2012

Social media has fueled a race for humans being chased by clones. Brands are pretending to be human by using social media to personalize their brand message.  Because of the rise of social media by millions of consumers where users go, marketers will follow. But can a brand become human using social media?

A brand is not human but the people behind the brand are human. Corporations are not human but they become containers for humans. Once humans step into corporate and brand roles they forget about human preferences. We the people are the ones being chased by entities and brands pretending to be human.

The key word in the previous statement is “pretending to be human”. Pretending is something we did when we were children. We pretended to be whatever our imagination wanted us to be. Brands, corporations and marketers are playing a pretend game aimed at attracting humans.  They use tricks and gimmicks distributed through social media channels trying to attract and trap humans into spending.  The practice is an extension of the sophomoric mentality of the industrial era marketing machines, media.  The cost of this practice is justified by chasing the many to capture a few.  It no longer works.

Social Media Fuels The Chase

EMarketer reports:  Research from social marketing software firm Awareness Inc. indicates US marketers plan to go where users go. The December 2011 survey found that the leading area for new social media marketing investments in 2012 would be increasing marketer presence across platforms, cited by 70% of respondents.

Leading Areas of Social Media Marketing Investment in 2012 According to US Marketers (% of respondents)

For some marketers, that will mean a new presence on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. While the vast majority of US marketers already use these sites for marketing, some laggards plan to join them there this year.

Chasing Humans Is Expensive

U.S. advertisers spend nearly $40 billion a year for online advertisements, but 31% of their ads are never seen. That means $12.4 billion will be wasted on U.S. online ads this year. That’s the average across all sites; on some sites, only 7% of the ads were “in-view,” meaning 93% of them went unseen.  And they wonder why.

Corporations, brands and marketers spend billions of dollars trying to obtain: trust, relevance, vision, values and leadership in the eyes of buyers, humans. Trying to become human they’ve adopted several human practices to gain attention. The top five practices include:

  1. Story creation in context to human needs
  2. They create creeds to identify with human beliefs
  3.  They create icons-quick flashes of meaning that sum up who you are and what you’re about.
  4. They create rituals. These are the repeated positive or negative interactions with the public.
  5. They create specialized words that have special meaning aimed at relating to the targeted audience.

The problem with these practices is that they do not create a connection with the human soul becasue they do not touch the heart of the human network. Trust, relevance, vision, values and leadership are attributes that connect the heart of the human network one to one to millions.

Chasing us where we are with irrelevant expensive ads is not the way to reach the hearts and minds of the human network.  Engaging us through our hearts and minds is done through human interaction not an advertising campaign created by clones.

{ 1 comment }

Srinivas January 29, 2012 at 11:48 am

You’ve hit one of my hot buttons. I’ve always had an ongoing rant that big brands really miss the social aspect of social media. This is really evident when you see a corporate blog that has never had a single comment on it, and an individual without two dimes together can build an audience of 1000’s and engage them. I think the real issue however lies in the fact that there is so much red tape around the social media efforts of big brands. I was at a networking event where a woman told me that she needed legal approval to put out a tweet and I thought “that’s a disaster.” I think individuals really get this mind set that it’s about people, while companies look at people as a necessary evil for their social media efforts. My two cents.


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