Believe it or not there are some partsof our lives brands shouldn’t follow us.
Image courtesy of snap cat.

When I say I don’t want you to be my friend I don’t mean you, dear readers.
I mean brands. Even lovely Innocent thinks I might want to chum up to them on the social network de jour and I don’t, I’m sorry I don’t.

People may be brands but brands are by and large not people.
And yet marketers consistently get confused about this. I put it down to too many brand personification exercises in those ghastly all day “off site” brainstorms that peope in marketing love so much.
And I guess to the idea of brand personality.
Brand’s do have personalities and I spend a lot of time thinking about powerful personalities for organisational brands that capture the specialness of the place while legislating for it to be delivered in every expression of that brand.
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.
It’s why I refuse to join “loyalty” programmes regardless of how fanatical I am about the brand or the bribe that they are offering to hand over my loyalty. I am loyal to people not to brands.
And this is why I think corporate blogging is such a bad idea. People in organisations can blog and people can blog on behalf of organisations (Visit Wales is building a series of blogs written by people in Wales about their experiences and lives for instance), but brands can’t blog – who’d be interested?
And I guess that’s what makes me so angry about the way brands are gatecrashing social media – media that we built to create communities and conversations with each other, not with packaged goods.
Guys just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
At least in traditional media there is a basic level of respect that keeps the communication inside ad breaks and clearly demarcated from the content. But on the internet brands brands wander around like really irritating guests at a party, intent on looking in every room, having a butchers in your wadrobe and trying on your pants.
Online there are no no go areas at all, and guess what happens once a brand has had its fun? It sods off to the next big thing which, in the words of the fast show, ‘this week is mainly Facebook’. Witness the speed with which brands got into and out of Second Life faster than a particulaly nasty bug gets through your digestive system.
And this behaviour is driven by unscrupulous brand advisers that treat the internet like the big trawler fleets treated the oceans for much of the twentieth century – a place where you can do what the fuck you like, cause any amount of damage and never suffer the consequences in your lifetime.
Even those of us that eat, sleep and drink brands acknowledge that there are places where brands aren’t welcome. And I am increasinglly of the opinion that social media is one of those places.
There are many brands which I am absolutely fanatical about but I don’t want to be their friend on facebook because, and I hate to break this to you, brands are not people.

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