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The Promise of Social Brands

Advertising is full of crap. Well, at least most of it is, I think we’d all agree. Advertisements and brand messages have long been full of lofty promises and ridiculous imagery that alludes brands to be magical entities given to us from the heavens to alleviate the pain of every day tortures like laundry, dusting, and what to make for dinner. Without them, our lives would descend in to unparalleled misery and despair.

More than a few humorous articles have been written online chronicling hilarious ads from decades gone by that made promises so laughable, we are astonished that anyone ever actually believed them. Cigarettes that soothe throat irritation. Exercise contraptions that melt fat away while you sit on your ass. Young lovers coming together through a mutual desire to consume lard.


Oh, most definitely. In fact, the promises being made by brands today aren’t that far removed from those of the past. Swiffer dusters that make cleaning so much fun you have to dance. Cat treats so tempting they make your cat destroy fences to get one. Magic shoes that give you an award-winning butt just by wearing them.

Reebok EasyTone Shoes Commercial

Things are different now.

Consumers are talking about everything. We’re comparing our experiences with others, not just in our immediate group of personal friends, but with people around the world. We’re realizing that poor customer service isn’t just an isolated incident, and crappy products abound. We’re voicing our dissatisfaction of companies with the world, and the world is on our side. We’re fed up. We’re speaking up. And companies need to step up. Deliver on your promises, or you will feel the wrath.

This is the promise of social brands.

We’re just at the cusp of this change. Although some forward-thinking businesses recognize the shift of power, many more continue on, blissfully unaware that promises made are now going to have to be kept. Or else.

One of two things is going to need to happen, and it’s going to need to happen fast if a brand wants to earn kudos instead of complaints:

1 – Brands will cease to make promises that cannot be kept.


2 – Brands will actually deliver on the promises they are making.

Companies cannot afford to be called out for not delivering. It’s too easy for the reality of the brand experience to be brought to light by customers and made public for the world to see. Social is going to force brands to be real about their promises, one way or another. If a brand makes an ad depicting a fragrance so potent it makes women de-clothe as they passionately run towards an unsuspecting man, we’ll call BS on it before the logo even appears. It’s not going to be worth it to create stuff like that anymore.

Social is reducing the variance between the ridiculous promises brands make & the reality of the actual brand experience.

Eventually, we’ll hit an equilibrium where the expectations we have of a company based on the messages we receive will be exactly what we get. Or if we’re lucky we’ll get more than we expect. That’d be nice.

Of course this all hinges on the vocal consumer. Consumers need to continue speaking, louder and louder. Share more and more. Call out brands that don’t deliver, and praise those that do. Smart companies will do what they need to do, and we’ll all be better for it. Companies that don’t? Well, we really don’t need them around anyway.

Ok brands, it’s time to deliver.

This article originally written for http://crowdshifter.com