Two things caught my eye this morning - this paper on the 'relationship era' of marketing from imc, and Clorox's announcement of their partnership with Disney (see screengrab right).
These got me thinking: we increasingly perceive brands like we perceive people. And brands, no matter how apparently unglamorous, can be people worth knowing.
For example, we like people who: listen to us and respond accordingly; take the trouble to be helpful, useful or entertaining; are genuine, and comfortable in their own skin. Of course, the converse is also true.
And it's the same with brands. Having used personalities to embody themselves for years (think Ronald McDonald), brands have become personalities in their own right. It's interesting to see the profiles of brands and people alike, mingling unsegregated on our social platforms.
I do not believe that this has been a specific 'grand plan' on the part of marketers. Rather, it is part of the market-driven leveling of the relationship between consumers and brands that has accelerated with the adoption of digital media.
As consumers, we now expect the same integrity of brands as we do people. We judge them similarly on their behavior.
And as marketers, we are more than ever guardians of our brands' character.
So for a brand to sustain a relationship with a customer, the same commitment is required as when you or I seek the same relationship. Simply, we have to be worth knowing; worth spending valuable time and attention with.
Ask yourself, is your brand someone worth hanging with? And if you're thinking that this doesn't apply to low-involvement, 'unglamorous' brands, remember the Clorox example above.
Even a Bleach manufacturer can tell you how to throw a Holiday Party. And what's more fun to be around than that?