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Thursday, January 25

Friends on the Rise, Brand Friendship on the Wane(?)

Read this interesting piece on 'Survival of Friendship' on the Edge.org site!

It led me thinking!

1. Friendship isn't dying out: it's just changing, adapting to the changes in the world. As a boy and as a young man or even 5 years back, there were not too many friends I had. I was a relatively quiet kind of guy. Self/work obsessed and quite boring. But the internet and the blogosphere is gradually changing that.

There are many more people that I open upto now. Hey, I feel I am reasonably extrovert in my virtual skin. It appears that the medium is changing my persona. After more than 3 decades, my buddy list is finally growing:-)

2. I today have friends whom I know only through e-mail/ chats who are as dear to me as my school friends; friends from my first job! And the funny thing is that geography and physical contact are not as important as I thought they would be!

3. This Edge piece also talks about - Throughout our lives we collect and store information about specific individuals, so that — just in case we ever run into them again — we will know how to act. We even store information about people we have never met and whose faces we have never seen.

However, when it comes to brands, I feel marketers and advertisers devote far too much time on consistency and repeating the boring facts everyone already knows. Whereas, if we want the friendship of people/ consumers, we must tell them, engage them with small tidbit about the brands. No coincidence that the best brands have a rich heritage and lots of small stories!

4. Many mobile service brands/ many brands(in general) in India talk about customer friendliness. But when they send their bill statements or the bill alerts or even supposedly personlised communication, the tone and voice are not that of a friend.
It's that of a self-obsessed manufacturer, an aggressive marketer or just a stiff uncaring voice!

Quite a few Indian brands have an impersonal voice(if they have a distinct one at all!!). I feel, they quickly need to loosen up in this new brand world! Because the eyeballs are:-)

5. Till the time we don't give up our obsession with war terms - target/ captive audience, capturing market share, etc., we will have a tough time making brand friends.

So it is ironical that while people are opening upto total strangers and making friends, brand friendship(at least in India) appears to be on the wane...Brand relationships are increasingly transaction-oriented despite the hype created by ads.

P.S. One notable exception in 2006 - the new age brand/concept 'Couchsurfing.com'


Raj Dutta said...

hi manish, have been voyeuring on your blog for a while.
liked your blog on SRK's "duality appeal" in an increasingly 50-50 world.
Everything is so grey, these days.
do you think the same problem applies to market research these days: the heisenberg principle applied to measure consumer behavior? i've raised the thought in my blog today, do gimme your atthanni on it: http://misterdutta.blogspot.com/2007/01/my-three-place.html
cheers, and keep thingging! (blogging meets thinking?)

meraj said...

are you on a vacation....missing the rants!

Divya Pratap said...

Hey bro,

My perspective of the role of brands in the Indian context. while the western society lives in an emotional desert, brands play a critical role to feed their emotions. Therefore all our theory on brands come from the western perspective on the concept of brands. As Indians not only are we more secure emotionally with the support system, most goods are consumed for either functional or affliative reasons with a strong count on money which is bound to make it more transactional, with brands merely acting as badges and assuring quality. good to be back on your blog. What's your perspective.

Manish said...

hey good point divya. true for the bulk of india. was writing more in the context of the global indian( if such a person exists).

also lets not forget, that the more we talk to the world, the more there will be a homogenisation of needs, wants and aspirations...therefore what is true of the west today might be true of us shortly...

we increasingly live in a world where there are 'tribes of mind'. and for them goegraphy and place-dependency/ rootedness may be history!

But your point noted.

Emmie Johnson said...

Friendship is adapting indeed... And such cutie pie baby pics!! muaaahhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi, Nice stuff. I found a cool news widget for our blogs at www.widgetmate.com. Now I can show the latest news on my blog. Worked like a breeze.

Manish said...

thanks for the widget site ....
whats your blog?