No need to check the schedule, SxSWi did not select our panel this time around. But the topic is about to tip. The idea for the panel was that brands need to start behaving themselves, just like the rest of us. Now that the relationship between brand and customer has been turned inside out, there’s no other choice.
But what is the new social contract?
Are you glad to have certain brands in your life? I think we can all identify with a story or two from brands that hit our sweet spot and why. And conversely, are the brands that are in your life happy to be there? This might indeed be quite interesting to explore.
The Top Ten Questions This Panel Would have Addressed Are:
- Are brands true members of society?
- Do/can the rules of society apply to brands?
- Is there a universal set of rules for brands to follow?
- What are the consequences for ignoring or breaking the rules?
- Would this theoretical rule book constitute a new model for brands to follow?
- Can we as citizens use these rules to hold back the encroachment of intrusive marketing?
- What are the rewards for brands that “behave”.
- Is it every brand for itself, and to hell with the rules?
- How far can the rules apply, beyond digital marketing, to the entire behavior of brands?
- Who will win? The rude or the polite?
What's interesting is that just last week, when I published the post on the new Forrester report on sponsored conversations, several people reached out to me to discuss the matter in more depth. And we also had a pretty good discussion on the same post at Social Media Today.
If you ever doubted that the same content in different contexts would fare differently, go ahead and read the comments here and there.
I also wrote a follow up post on brand behavior in social media. In the closing of that post, I stated: 2009 is the year when this conversation becomes mainstream, I promise. Trust is based upon behavior, and so is reputation - and they are both the new currency for brands.
Well, I don't know about you. I will be at SxSWi and have been known to be pretty good at moderating and facilitating conversations (I'm better in person, you'll need to trust me on that). If this interests you, and you want to gather a panel of participants at a local coffee shop, this may be a good starting point for a discussion.
Let me throw in one more question for good measure. I think many marketers (Ok, people like me) are prepared to engage in real -- two-way -- brand communication. But are the brands ready? In other words, what happens to the business behind the brand?