Thursday, July 18, 2013

Do you want people to love your brand? In some cases, you need to seek out the boozers and the potheads

If a company and/or brand is perceived as a distant entity, then you may not be all that motivated to buy from that company/brand. But if the company/brand is perceived more positively, then you'll want to get the toilet tissue that Mr. Whipple squeezes.

Of course, if the company/brand makes extensive use of the word "friend," then you may have even warmer feelings toward it.

One industry that frequently uses the word "friend" is the social media industry - a point explored in Loren Feldman's "#SoMe" film (a film that I have previously reviewed). This industry has certainly changed the way that we use the word "friend," and it's undeniable that there are some people who are attached to social media services, and there are some people who are EXTREMELY attached to social media services - despite the fact that some uses of social media services are demonstrably anti-social (as I've previously noted).

So, who will be attracted to social media services, and who will not be attracted?

Four people from the University of Missouri-Columbia and Texas State University explored this question in a paper entitled Loneliness, anxiousness, and substance use as predictors of Facebook use. From the abstract:

This study investigates the relationships between loneliness, anxiousness, alcohol, and marijuana use in the prediction of freshman college students’ connections with others on the social network site Facebook as well as their emotional connectedness to Facebook.

What did they find?

Results showed that anxiousness, alcohol use, and marijuana use predicted emotional attachment to Facebook. Additionally, loneliness and anxiousness, but not alcohol or marijuana use, predicted individuals’ connections with others using Facebook.

Now this probably wouldn't hold true for all industries - I doubt that heavy alcohol users are more inclined to buy Charmin bathroom tissue, although it's probable that marijuana users are more inclined to buy Hostess Twinkies. And there are probably other factors that can be used to predict emotional attachment to Facebook, or to others on Facebook. And the study in question focused upon college freshmen; I doubt those results can be extrapolated to the general population. (I can't picture a 70 year old acid casualty suddenly saying, "I'll open a Facebook account!")

However, this limited study does illustrate that seemingly unrelated factors can be used to predict the success of a product. And since the concept of Facebook originated in a college environment, the results certainly merit interest.
blog comments powered by Disqus