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@Bruce - it is quite funny how all of a sudden we speak about brands as if they were people, isn't it? I agree with you, and will be posting something this week that speaks to that. There are trade offs, always.

@Tom - I must have heard you in as I was writing my customer conversation post this week. Understand the community motivations is a good way to show you're listening.

@Carolyn Ann - I like very much how you conclude your thoughts here. Businesses that forget to play nice get reigned in by fed up consumers who now totally refuse to see and think about the brand(s). Thank you - I am enjoying SxSW. There's too much happening t summarize even in a couple of posts. I like to take in the information and digest it before I can make sense of how it layers on the current context in which we're playing.

1. Are brands true members of society? -- No. A brand is an abstract concept.

2. Do/can the rules of society apply to brands? -- No. But rules do apply to those operating on behalf of a brand

3. Is there a universal set of rules for brands to follow? -- Oddly, yes. They're too complex to summarize quickly, but basically amount to "fair and ethical"

4. What are the consequences for ignoring or breaking the rules? -- Being defined as an extremist, petty or capricious

5. Would this theoretical rule book constitute a new model for brands to follow? -- That's way too complex a question!

6. Can we as citizens use these rules to hold back the encroachment of intrusive marketing? -- Yes. Otherwise legislation will define the rules. Actually, it's a mix of behaving and legislation enforcing behavior. The difficulty comes in defining where responsibility lies

7. What are the rewards for brands that “behave”. -- Not having a bad or poor reputation! Nothing else

8. Is it every brand for itself, and to hell with the rules? -- Entering the arena of politics, here. Some think so (hard line conservatives, for instance), others do not (the rest of us.) Ayn Rand meets the real world, perhaps?

9. How far can the rules apply, beyond digital marketing, to the entire behavior of brands? -- The entire behavior

10. Who will win? The rude or the polite?
-- That's way too complex a question! It's also probably impossible to answer, because it depends on unknowable context. Rude is not likely to curry favor, however

"Do not call" legislation comes to mind: business repeatedly failed to play nice, and as a result got stuck with draconian rules. Another, more complex example is what is happening on Wall St, but that's too complex to summarize.

Enjoy SxSW!

Carolyn Ann

Valeria:

I think the 10 questions above are critical. In my personal world, and my professional work, my basic advice is to first understand the community motivations (of the place you or the brand wants to participate) and then let these community motivations be the filter for your actions.

Brands need to act as people (well, really through people) and participate in the community in ways that serve community motivations. People are mostly not talking about you (brand) or for you (brand) so pay attention to what they care about first.

Be open, honest, human and helpful and people will like and reward you!

Tom O'Brien
MotiveQuest LLC

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