Branding: Is your content for Dogs or Cats?

Cat owners need to deal with the fact, as shown above, that their kitties rely on them for resources, value and good stuff and not for emotional or physical security.

When I watched the above, I couldn’t help but think that this is something both Google and Facebook deal with on a daily basis.

Facebook users, in particular, are a fickle lot. You don’t need to be on Facebook for very long before someone will say “I’m just on there to chat.” or “I only use it cause all my friends do.” Facebook’s attempts at entering into search with their grid search capabilities, etc, leave a lot to want. But you can see the logic. They are well aware of how quickly Friendster and MySpace headed south when the wind changed directions.

On the other hand, Google+, while offering almost nothing in terms of useful or witty posting, still has the much stronger benefit of being tied in closely with invaluable services like search and Gmail. So, even though Google+ is annoying, and almost 100% spam, it does have interesting (sometimes startling) effects on search.

Many of the content clients I’m working for assume that they are presenting content to dogs, i.e.; those who will see the content and experience an emotional turn-around and become devoted followers. But they’re doing so without any of the advantages that Google and Facebook really enjoy – namely size and brand recognition.

I think it is a far safer assumption that your readers will remain cats, use you for the resources and the goods you can provide and remain largely indifferent.

The true challenge of branding is convert the Cats, those who are indifferent, disengaged and listless – into the Dogs, who are loyal and who actually seek security, emotional fulfillment and, indeed, identity – from your brand.

That’s no easy task. Branding means making a “Persona” out of your logo and the sum total of the stuff you have on offer. That’s a whole range of experiences as complex and complicated as a human relationship can get.

Fortunately, with social media, and tight controls over who is speaking on your behalf, you can actually control and broaden the experience that other people have with your Brand. But then, you end up with a tightly controlled version of some kind of stiff person-thing that you want to act on behalf of your company.

Far better is to have a really good understanding of the Values that your persona represents and to spend some time making sure all of your spokespeople live up to those values. Then give them the freedom to make sure that the things they say and do on behalf of your organization also align with those values, and properly represent your “Persona” as a cool, good and trustworthy person.

Ultimately you don’t want your members or customers to be dogs, but it would be nice to get just some of the devotion and loyalty that dogs show their owners. In the meantime, cats make nice pets too, and these cats can really respond to good, fair and honest treatment. Just the opposite of actual cats, it’s in their nature.

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