Sunday, April 27, 2014

Conversations about brands. A Primer.

There was a flap over the last three or four days over the New York Police Department and their Twitter account. They thought, misguidedly, that they'd receive some sort of Rockwellian or O'Henry-esq warmth. The kind-hearted cop, the grateful public. That sort of bushwa.

What they got were intimations of Praetorian authoritarianism. Cops as bullies. As oppressors. As the uniformed bludgeon of New York's bloated plutocratic classes.

There are three types of brands in the world and only one of them should use Twitter or any social media for that matter. (I've gone through this before, but no one seems to be listening.)

1. There are BRAVES. These are brands people positively rave about. Brand + rave = Brave. Braves are brands like Apple or Virgin or Samsung or Shake Shack that, for whatever reason, people love. These brands aren't loved because of social media, but affection and praise for them is often expressed in social media. These are the only potential brands that people would ever have a conversation about. There are about six Braves in our universe.

2. There are BLANDS. Brands no one really cares about. Brand + blah = Bland. These are the great lumpen of brands, the majority of the crap in our shopping carts. Ziploc. Air freshener. Buicks. A junior senator from Nebraska. I'm hard-pressed, no matter how good your social media strategy, to believe that people will really spend their valuable time and energy on these brands. They don't bubble up to the surface. They're there, but who cares.

3. Finally, there are BRANTS. The NYPD falls into this category. Brand + rant = Brant. These are the brands that piss people off, that use users and are often perceived as misusing them. Airlines. Telcos. Cable "providers." People expect these types of brands to be reliable--a holdover from the Ma Bell-utility era, or the airline industry before it was de-regulated. No one in the history of humankind has ever said anything positive about their cable company.

Before you burn countless hours and stultify yourself through countless decks, determine if you're a BRAVE, BLAND or BRANT.

Then decide if people will talk about you. And if they do, if they'll say anything good.

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