Are Brands People Too?

“Wait, my Facebook page needs a strategy?”

Just kidding, we’re not actually starting an article with that cringe-inducing, buzz-wordy cliche of a marketing statement. That was, however, the title of one of the Social Media Week Chicago sessions that lonelybrand attended.

We noticed a lot of the usual chatter from the panel: you’ve got to listen, select the right platform for the right audience, and say something meaningful.

The above statements are all true, but nothing that we didn’t know before strolling on down to the lofty Aon Center.

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One particularly prolific statement came from Jim Marcus, the funky-haired Group Creative Director at Tribal DDB Chicago.

“What is a brand, anyway?” Marcus asked the audience. “There are a million fancy answers out there, but I like to think the simplest approach is to think of a brand as the closest thing there is to a human.”

“Think for a minute about your personal social accounts,” he added. “What kinds of things do you share?”

Cats caught in mid jump and cute puppies of course.

On a serious note few – if any – of us have documented content calendars for our personal social accounts (or at least no one that’s willing to admit it), nevertheless we maintain subconscious patterns of engagement. We post about the things that pique our interest in a unique voice. In fact, if you removed your friends’ identities from their content and pulled a random message out of a hat you could probably guess who is responsible.

This is a thing that I’m sure someone has scientifically tested with… science.

Let’s see, my Facebook feed is full of three things: social media articles, DIY craft blogs and goofy videos. Yep, my friends could identify my posts out of a line-up any day of the week. More importantly there’s a point to all this banter.

According to Marcus, this same unique identifiers should be true for your brand. You need to know your brand’s character. How should it act? What should it talk about? What are the deeper issues it truly cares about? At the end of the day, as he says, “social’s job is to make a brand a ‘person’ that people like.”

We like his way of thinking about brands. Some people rub you the wrong way, some people talk too much and some get it just right. What brands do you think “get it right” and what are they doing that you absolutely love?