Social Relationship Matrix- and how brands fit in
In a previous post (recommended reading), I described a situation where a question was raised.
“Relationships imply deep commitments- so how could a brand develop one? And whether it makes sense to handover this relationship management to third parties?”
The underlying assumption was that relationships mean deep interpersonal interaction and commitments. This connotes a huge entry barrier for brands- because obviously brands want to understand and be sure- before they venture into any such strategic issue.
Well, one way to get over this barrier- is to have a more pragmatic approach towards relationships. If this is understood, we can probably breathe easier, get more stuff done- and procrastinate a little less. Because we can’t just wish it away.
The simple fact of life is that- for an individual, relationships OR expectations from different relationships are not the same.
And to get this point across, I plotted the various relationships that one person has.
Relationships. They are not linear. Neither are they completely hierarchical. They are an intense mish mash. And each has its own significance.
The best analogy could probably be notes of music. Each of them is diverse. Yet for an individual piece of music, each has its own significance (Just like an individual’s diverse relationships). Even though the notes are the same, the intensity might vary- from time to time (Just like an individual’s diverse relationships). If you don’t play them right at the right time- your music appears off. And they might be played together, at occasions. (Just like an individual’s balance and expectations from diverse relationships)
The individual entities in the matrix are self explained. Note that even in human to human relationships- the characteristics, duration of relationships, objectives and expectations vary. They are not exactly the same.
OK- human relationships are more complex than this.
How about a boss/mentor or teacher?
How about distant relatives?
How about children, spouses or parents of friends?
How about children, spouses or friends of siblings/parents?
How about a rock star or a film actor?
Well, there might be endless permutations- but if you look closely, the matrix could have proxies for more situations.
The key, however, is this: Brands do not need to develop relationships and get into commitments as a human to human close relationship.
People have different expectations from Brands ( or even Commercial interest entities). It is different from a friend or a spouse.
The point of contact could be short and intermittent. People understand a commercial entity- and have come to mould their expectations similarly.
Think about it.