Get Shouty


Omeletes and eggshells
September 24, 2008, 6:36 am
Filed under: Digital Strategy

I was reading this today and was reminded that:

existing corporate structure(s) doesn’t allow for making mistakes and yet humans do that all the time, so unless we want brands to sound artificial we’re going to need some human contribution at some point….

I’d take it a little bit further- you just can’t have an emotional connection with perfection. You could never be friends with anyone that doesn’t have doubts, make mistakes, have cracks and the ability to laugh at those moments in life when things have gone significantly broader at the base.

Vulnerability connects. It makes brands human.

Unless we allow brands to innovate, iterate, royally stuff up and learn from listening we’re never going to be able to build real, long term relationships.

And the stats are in: people love brands that admit a mistake and change course better than walled gardens.

It’s time to take the legal team out to lunch.


5 Comments so far
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I don’t know if we need to allow brands to stuff up (and we certainly don’t want to encourage them to do so) — perhaps we want them to take responsibility for their actions, for the impacts they have on our lives and the environment and for their successes.

As you say, we want to peek beyond the walled garden and find an army of folks who really want to help us. Charles is right (and so was the Cluetrain) … if we are forced to speak with the words of the corporation, then it is no wonder we sound desensitised and devoid of personality — for it is these words that create the barriers between us.

Great post😉

Comment by Gavin Heaton

you’re right, as ever Gav…but in order for brands to fly they really need to be pushed out of the nest- and they can’t be terrified of bumps and bruises. It’s arresting their development.

You should see the legal hoops my FMCG clients have to skillfully navigate to support a community…..

Acknowledging that there’ll be hiccups isn’t encouraging failure- it’s about having the foresight to know that it might just happen, planing for the worst and doing it anyway.

Comment by katiechatfield

Katie,
great post… absolutely a huge conversation starter. I read Gavin comments as well and funny enough i realized that there’s a whole point missing there.

No brand can survive a new world of critics out there that now have a voice and a crowd listening to them, no matter how good they are.

So further to your point, it’s not just the humanity of a brand that connects, but it’s more profoundly the ability of that brand to accept being in the conversations especially the unpleasant ones, responding to them with facts.

If the synonymous of stupidity is doing the same thing twice and expect a different outcome, Brands that inevitably will make stuff-ups needs to learn to ride them, rather then fight them.

So … brands Be human! good human though, that can say sorry and get their story together afterwards.

Comment by Nico

Sorry about being so late to join in on this but I can read it well from my mobile phone but this is the first chance to respond from a proper keyboard.

I’ve given it a lot of thought and I’m beginning to get the feeling that in order for brands to join in social media they need to be legally unaccountable for making mistakes. That sounds nuts of course but the corporation needs to make sure that all the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed.

What if we could enable brands through legally unaacountable entities to provide lots of information that we need, build relationships and be socially useful. We kind of do it already with peoples blogs where it says these are my thoughts and not the thoughts of my employers on blogs.

Well anyway, it’s almost unthinkable but until we have a voice that is allowed to make mistakes we aren’t going to get anything other than legally accountable corporation speak. People would also need to be able to distinguish between the accountable and unaccountable and I’m pretty sure a lot of people are ready for that yet too.

Great post and thanks for the solidarity🙂

Comment by Charles Frith

[…] …but experiment lots […]

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