Should all brands be social?

Should every brand be social? Please.

Brands asking people to like them are missing the point. Have you ever tried asking someone to like you? Did it work?

Don’t get me wrong. Clearly, embracing a dialogue with audiences, even getting them to participate in the creation of campaigns or even brands reaps rewards.

But do you really want a deeper, more meaningful relationship with your supermarket? Well, since Sainsbury’s renamed their Tiger Bread to Giraffe Bread after three-and-a-half-year-old Lily Robinson’s letter caused a social stir, maybe you do.

There is a difference, however, between capitalising on an example of excellent customer service and maintaining that your brand plays a social role in people’s lives. Since the dawn of time (ok, capitalism) brands have over-egged their place on the social spectrum. Brand X will change your life! No, really!  

This fuels skepticism, disengagement and exactly the type of negative brand image we work so hard to avoid.

It is the brands that know their place that see real returns. Perhaps my favourite ad of all time illustrates this perfectly: “What’s the difference between ours and our competitors? Not much really.” Tesco know they play a little role in people’s lives, and play on it in a big way.

Most brands need to accept that, as far as social engagement goes, they sit somewhere between acquaintance and inanimate object. For the few that don’t (think BBC, innocent, Nando’s), social media is a rich opportunity.

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But what do YOU think?

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