Brands Faking Human

Shaun Dakin talks about an experience with the Buffer team:

Buffer’s two Co-founders (Joel and Leo) have more than an MVP going for this start up, they have a AP (Awesome Personality) !

My specific interactions with them started about 6 months ago when I started using the free version and noticed that their referral tool which incents users to refer Buffer to friends and others via word of mouth had a slight #Privacy problem. Not a big one, but enough that me being a Privacy guy contacted them to see if they would fix it.

They responded, very nicely, and listened and agreed that something needed to be done.

And they fixed it. Not immediately, which is an eternity in our tweet it now world, but they fixed it based on my input which they did not dismiss.

This is another example a company relating to people in my favourite way, by being human.

Being human is simple, effective and it’s also the one thing a brand can never be.

A brand can emulate speaking in a human voice and a lot of other stuff, but it can never be human.

While people are empathetic, funny, and creative, brands are objective driven, controlled, and artificial.

We can see that some brands are eager to adopt social platforms that give them the ability to express human qualities. As only two of many examples: Pinterest gives brands a way to relate to customers based on interests and taste, and Tumblr is a way for them to participate in memes and share humour.

Given this, it makes sense to me that brands are less interested in blogging nowadays as a way to interact with customers compared to participating in social networks. Long form writing is more a work than it is a behaviour. For example, a short message like a tweet better resembles how people talk, and I would call that a more human kind of expression than a long form piece of writing.

Ok, so more and more brands are trying to come across as human. I think I’m on to something, but then I get stuck. At this point, I can only ask myself a bunch of other questions:

  • How does this affect large businesses versus smaller ones?
  • What’s really necessary in a brand and what’s unnecessary?
  • Why can’t we just expose the people behind a brand?
  • What do people really want?

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