Gary Vaynerchuck, in a recent video [not linked thanks to Tumblr's woes] on the topic of his new book, The Thank You Economy (Amazon) made the claim that brands needed to be more like people. He gained this opinion, I suspect, by being both a person and a brand. But can you assume that because you (the person and the brand) are successful interacting on the social internet, that brands-in-general must interact as a human on the social internet?
My gut (as a human) says no. Gary V. even admits that if he was watching the Jets and said to his buddy “I don’t really dig Bud Light Lime,” that he’d punch someone in the face who a few seconds later out of the blue offered him an apology from Bud Light and gave him a free sample of one of their other products.
He thinks times have changed. They have. We’re now in the age of the brand ambassador.
We’re now in the age of the brand ambassador.
It comes down to mental models. A user expects from a human:
From the above list how many do you expect from a can of Coke? Because you don’t expect to interact with a brand in the above ways, the interaction seems out of place. It makes you want to punch someone in the face.
How to Avoid a Face Punch and Still Interact
Since interaction we do all of the above bulleted things with humans, why not make your brand human? Because it isn’t. But you can put a face with your brand. A real, live, living breathing face.
Consider the Twist Image Blog. You don’t know it? It’s right here:
The Six Pixels of Separation Blog looks very un-like a corporate blog and more like the blog of one guy: Mitch Joel. In fact, that’s what it is. The loose affiliation with the brand is enough for the brand to reap the bennies of:
- Content Marketing
- Expert Status
But the fact that there is a human face behind it allows Mitch to genuinely do all the things that a user expects from a human This is the same advantage Gary Vaynerchuck had at his web site.
Put a human behind your brand, and users will expect interaction. Otherwise… get punched in the face.
Image: Evil Erin