Connecting through vulnerability…

…and why a 2 way dialogue is important for a relationship…and other interpersonal Brand Advice.

Brands are just now recognizing the fact that their consumers have a bigger voice than they do. One product miss-step or bad customer experience can turn into a PR nightmare, as consumers fight back via blogs or online video posts that often get more attention than the brands themselves. The ubiquitous two way dialogue.

But this can be turned around. The sooner brands start talking with us rather than at us, the better off they will be. No one likes being preached to by a friend. What we do connect to are those friends that open up to us, those that are vulnerable, that tell us their secrets, good and bad. Yes, bad. We do not appreciate perfection, we don’t trust it.

Online video is the perfect forum for this. CNBC did a fabulous job with one of their producers taking a camera around introducing the audience of CNBC.com to the production staff. The basic idea showed how even big companies are staffed by individuals that work hard just like us and have to pay for their sons and daughter’s college educations or daughter’s pony. It was real, and connected way beyond what any traditional station identification could have done.

So why don’t other do the same? Imagine if:
• Journalists admit to their mistakes rather than have us wait for the network cover up.
• Weathermen admitting to the fact that what they are doing is predictive, and that it would be impossible to always be right.
• Ford and GM admit their designs suck and realize they can no longer win the low price, 0%APR wars.

Now, this does not have to all be grounded in humor, I am just trying to make a point. If Brands want to have relationships with us, especially in todays ubiquitous two way dialogue, they need to connect as an individual does because it is now all about individual connections. One to one, doesn’t just refer to the technology employed. It is more than delivering the right product to the right consumer, but in the right voice too.

The Brand can still go out with their Big Brand campaign. It’s sort of like us going out for the evening in our best tux, but we still need to get real.

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