Unsocial objects

I talk a lot about the importance of social objects – stuff for people to talk about – in marketing and the idea that successful brands naturally create a lot of them.

Neil Boorman’s latest post presents a slightly depressing alternative reality of brands as unsocial objects. He describes his fellow laptop users at the British Library, and their apparent lack of engagement with each other. I was a bit depressed by this story:

Months ago, I noted on this blog a conversation I had with a brand manager at Adidas; he believed in treating people according to the stereotypes of their brands, that this system of values saves us time in selecting friends and partners. According to this law, there would be no point in making friends with the attractive Asian women who sits beside me each day, because she has a clunky old Hewlett Packard. Nor the friendly looking middle-aged guy who sits opposite me with his Toshiba

2 thoughts on “Unsocial objects

  1. Earl Mardle

    I think the brand manager at Adidas is absolutely correct.

    Just as accountants are reputed to use their personalities as contraceptives, the brand manager at Adidas insulates himself from annoying interesting but unorthodox people, leaving them available to the rest of us.

    Yet another one who took marketing 101 because there was no masturbation 101.

    Feel free to edit.


  2. Gavin Heaton

    Sounds like a brand manager that is out of touch with his audience AND his brand. Brands are not about the objects that they create. SMART brands will help prompt conversations … but I have yet to hear of anyone “meeting” because of the latest running shoe.

    I don’t know that the brands are being unsocial, or even anti-social. I bet that a conversation would startup if there was a need to recharge a Nokia phone — “excuse I see you have a Nokia phone, could I borrow your charger?”. Smart brands provide us with REASONS to converse and connect.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.