More than ever before, the world is full of people wanting to be your friend. And I don’t mean on Facebook (although, that is also a problem…).
No, I mean brands that want to be your friend. From the simple bar of soap on your bathroom basin, to the friendly-looking cereal staring up at you from your breakfast bowl, to the shiny red jet that’s flying over your house right now.
They want you to like them and they’re not afraid to say so. Some are even willing to pay for the privilege!
Cast your mind back to the school playground. Making friends was probably one of the most difficult and tenuous things you could attempt to do.
There were the kids that made friends easily and naturally – seemingly without effort. They were friendly, they were confident, they had nothing to hide. They were never picked last for the tee ball team and they never sat by themselves at lunch.
Then there were the rich kids, who simply bought friends. Lunches, free tickets, sporting equipment from dad’s store. It was fleeting and shallow version of friendship, but it worked on some level.
And then there were always the kids that tried too hard to be friends. They got up in your face; gave you a list of reasons you should be friends; basically campaigned in every recess to try and hang out with you. But for some reason, they just didn’t seem convincing – their sales pitch never really caught on – something about them was just not quite believable.
They wanted your friendship too much. They seemed needy and neurotic. In the end, you just didn’t trust them.
Modern brands are just like these kids.
Some brands make friends effortlessly… they live in the hearts of people around the world (research suggests people are not addicted to their iPhones as first thought, but instead, they love their iPhones).
How do they do that? Well, firstly, they live their beliefs. They are who they say they are.
It’s exactly the same as when you meet a person who is sure of themselves – not arrogant – but appropriately confident and open. They speak genuinely and they know themselves; they are consistent in their views; they are warm and they listen to others; they are immediately likeable and seem infinitely reliable.
In essence, they are rock-solid in their own self-belief. They are the real deal.
Think of all the truly amazing brands of our time – their strength is in their self belief and how they communicate that to the world. The simplicity of their message and their innate ability to create a brand following – a loyalty that goes beyond rational consumer choice and rests firmly in the hearts of their customers – is the key to their success.
And this is true not just of consumer brands, but of all brands. The emotional attachment that is created when a brand does something powerfully good cannot be measured in ‘likes’, ‘shares’ or even sales. It becomes a trusted friend. And we all know that good friends – real friends – are priceless.