Filed under: Zeitgeist
I like the brands that I work with to be friends with their consumers.
I was reading an article about ‘friends with benefits’, which is not a bad way of describing the current relationship between brands and consumers- mostly useful, sometimes amusing and yet there is no commitment, real affinity or long term relationship.
Take Aristotle’s concept of friendship. He proposed three models: friendship based on utility (a friend who provides something useful to us); friendship based on pleasure (we enjoy a friend’s company); and friendship based on virtue or mutual admiration (we find a friend who shares our values).
You can see in the Brand Utility movement the notion of the first model. It has at it’s heart the notion that, in order to achieve engagement, marketers should create widgets or things that consumers can actually use.
Undoubtedly most brands have surfed the wave of Pleasure: the friendship has been based on amusing and entertaining brand experiences.
As Aristotle would argue, the reason friendships based on utility are incomplete, is that they are motivated by short-term considerations and are contingent on changeable circumstances. Similarly, friendships based on pleasure are contingent on feelings and accidental conditions. The friendship of mutual admiration is most enduring, and complete, because they “wish well for each other for each other’s own sake”, in addition to being useful and pleasant to each other.
I like to say that employed individually and without complexity and integration into a brand’s persona, these approach models simply create brand ephemera
Get the mix right:
and you’d move your brand beyond the five minute fling and into something that would last.
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