Monday, 1 August 2011

Narcissistic Brands

I've never been a huge fan of the "brands are like people" mantra. OK, it's a reasonable metaphor up to a point. But I start feeling queasy when people start applying essentially human terms to brands. Loyalty is bad enough, but love? And while some brands can be annoying, or provide a less than enjoyable experience, is hate maybe too strong a word?

The "hate" that's expressed in a temporary irritation with Ryan Air, or that slightly sick feeling at being stuck with eating one of McDonald's goo-ridden burgers due to lack of alternatives is the sort of "hate" that a five-year-old expresses - it'll be gone in the morning.

But the latest attack on social media from Baroness Greenfield has reminded me of a way that some brands have of behaving that really is reminiscent of some people who get a little carried away on Facebook and Twitter. The Baroness comments that social media is making people narcissistic, rather like a toddler stuck in the "Look at me, Mummy. I've done this!" stage of development.

And, yes, there are brands who are guilty. They use the social media platforms to tweet mindlessly or get people to upload photos wearing a silly branded hat in the interests of participation. While a bit of fun now and again is fine, it would be good if the people managing these brands could remember that they need to offer people something - from a solution to an everyday problem, to a fulfilling experience, to satisfying a fundamental human drive.

No one is that interested when a brand learns to stand on its head.


Whisks said...

Don't you think/hope they'll all burn out eventually? I hear facebook is no longer as cool as it was; 'follow Crunchy Nut cornflakes on facebook'? What's that all about? S'pose if I followed those cornflakes, I might find out.

Sue said...

When you sit back and look at it, it really is all a bit silly. I expect we'll be laughing at the worst excesses of Facebook and Twitter sooner than we think. I read a great blog a while ago on the latest App from Domestos (I think...) that allowed you to track the progress of your poo through the sewer system - "just because you can, doesn't mean you should..."

Sue said...

And, just in case anyone really, really, has to know:

Whisks said...

What a bizarre website! I most surprise (and not totally believing) that the sewers seem to follow the roads exactly.
I'd like to say, 'thanks for posting', but perhaps I won't :)