It’s not so much about building relationships with brands; it’s about using brands to build relationships.
All the talk these days is about relationships. Relationships are king. It’s the coin of the realm. Everything is all about building relationships. But the interesting thing is that relationships are often discussed in the context of technology, social media, Web 2.0, apps, metrics, analytics, demo-psycho-socio-geographics, social networking, blogs and a thousand other buzz words. But when I step back it’s all so odd. All of those terms are so very impersonal.
We talk about building a relationship with a brand, a product, a service. Yes I do it too. Everyday. But have we forgotten that real relationships are human? Can I truly have a relationship with my toothpaste, my jeans, my iPod, my microwaveable food, my gym, my computer, my car ? Well yes I can have a relationship with all of those things, in a sense. But not a real relationship.
Real relationships are human. It’s the touch of someone you love. It’s holding a child or grandchild close and squeezing hard. It’s enjoying a family trip. It’s working together with coworkers to achieve a common goal. It’s striving together with others for something noble and right. It’s being with friends talking and laughing and just hanging out. It’s crying with someone you care about who’s hurting. It’s shedding tears when someone dear is no longer here. It’s sharing life with someone. It’s always a uniquely human experience.
This is not to discount all the wonderful new technologies, techniques, methods and knowledge that help us communicate. But none of these can be a substitute for real relationships. And we must not forget it. We are so busy talking about and “building“ relationship in so many artificial ways but sometimes we forget that relationships are human. They involve the body, mind and soul. They include the heart and emotions, which cannot be explained or adequately described.
Doesn’t it make more sense to instead of trying to build relationships using a brand or product, or service, or institution; we talk about how those things can help build true relationships…with other humans? Isn’t that what it’s all about?
Relationships are indeed king. But real relationships are about human relationships. We don’t need to get lost in faux relationships but rather use technology and communication tools to communicate how our brand or service or product can help create and build and sustain and improve real relationships. The kind that is human. The kind that can’t be reduced to analytics and research. The kind that really matter. The kind that makes life truly worth living.