brands can be friendly, but can’t be friends

There has been a lot of talk from advertising-types, what with the Facebook advertising hoopla, that people do not want brands to be their friends. Adliterate puts it well here:

People may be brands but brands are by and large not people.But just because a brand has a personality doesn’t make it a person.

And I want my relationships to be with people not businesses. Sure that can be the people in those businesses but not the business as a whole.

Brands that try to worm their way into social media, that try to position themselves as your friends are doing the wrong thing. To quote Tangerine Toad:

Consumers aren’t looking for more friends…we’re looking for is authenticity. That means you tell us the truth. Admit when you’re wrong. Don’t treat us like criminals. And talk to us when you have news.

“Telling us the truth” means you’ve got to stop trying to pretend we’re not consumers and you’re not sales people. Because we both know that’s not true.

Brands, you know what I want this holiday season? I want value on good products, ideally from brands that have good, creative advertising. But I would be fine with just good products.

So don’t waste your time trying to be my friend. I already have friends. Real people friends that I can talk to, shoot the shit with, blog about after changing their name and actually have a back-and-forth real relationship with. And, except for that one old college friend who tried to get me to join some Amway thing, there is no pressure to buy anything from them to show my allegiance. Which is nice.

Instead of making a splash in social networking, spend that money on R&D, on design or even on your ad agency (especially if it’s the one I work at).

That is where you’ll find those incremental sales you’re looking for.


2 responses to “brands can be friendly, but can’t be friends

  1. I once had a college friend try to get me to join some kind of cult – I think it was called the Forum. He was pretty persistent about it too.

    Oh, and thanks for the shout-out.

  2. I just looked up “forum + cult” on Google and there were a surprising number of sites devoted to it. Kind of scary.

    But nothing like getting into advertising…

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