The answer is no.

Seeking Shambhala

Last year, I wrote a post asking “Can brands be human?

A year later, I’m certain the answer is “no.”

Now, this may seem obvious. But for almost a decade we’ve been hearing about how social media “humanizes” brands.

After another year of social media strategists trying their best to be “modern marketers” with “content marketing strategy” and “real-time marketing tactics,” many brands have missed the mark on their 9/11 tributes.

Brands can’t be human but the operators of their social media accounts are (for the most part). So what motivates a brand manager to plan and publish a post that belittles a tragedy like 9/11 into an opportunity to sell? I wonder if it’s the same profit mentality of individuals trying to profit from the Boston Marathon bombing or missing Malaysia Airlines flight. Or maybe it’s a more simple issue that has stuck with advertising forever — people act differently when concealed behind the shield of a corporate logo.

In either case, it’s clear that brands should stop trying to be human and just stick to being businesses. Don’t forget to be respectful of your consumers along the way.

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