I read this interesting article over on PSFK today, regarding brands in social media. The author posits that “brands are not our friends” and the consumer (and marketer) needs to remember this when on social media.
He’s right: a brand is not our friend. But with all the talk about “engagement” and “relationships” in marketing, is it any wonder that brands are trying to be our friends? The bottom line is, brands are concerned with purchasing behavior and how they can influence that behavior. Brands are concerned with how we talk about them to our friends, family, coworkers – especially in the social media realm.
It is important to remember that brands DO bring a value to our lives, whether it’s via products, services or something even less tangible. Brands have to connect emotionally with consumers to start the purchase cycle and continually provide a positive experience and connection to drive the consumer to the purchase behavior the brand desires. And while the real “relationship” doesn’t exist with a brand as it does with a friend, I know that there are brands that I trust (and those that I don’t) just like I trust my friends (or just like I don’t trust people).
The author concludes that social media efforts should be realistic – and the most successful ones will be, as consumers continue to become more savvy about brands that are perceived as “faking it” and more vocal about their experiences – with everything. Being authentic is the best way to connect with your consumers – no matter the medium.