Dec 2, 2009

Are Brands People too?



Manu posts (as usual) a very thought provoking post on whether brands have a Dunbar number. As he wonders:
if there was a Dunbar number for brands, dictated by the number of people  the brand can connect with- internally as well as externally? There are two things I read recently which added to the thought. One was the idea of the Intention Economy (via Surekha) which “grows around buyers” and is “about markets, not marketing”, and which is builts beyond transactions alone – conversations, reputation, authority, respect all of which are earned by the sellers and buyers.

I agree with Manu's thought here, but with some caveats :-)

The reality is that Dunbar's number is a cognitive feature of people. It shows me the limit of people I can have meaningful relationships with. These are relationships in the true sense of the world, not the "social media" sense of the world.

Even though brands (people on behalf) may engage with people on social networks, and built relationships - these are around the transactions of content, collaboration, conversations.

There is however one exceptional group for whom a brand can have high engagement levels and would be around Dunbar's number. These are the evangelists/advocates of a brand - who are at the pinnacle of the ladder of engagement wrt the brand.