Mark Higginson

How attention flows on the web


01 October 2013

Brands gather communities around them. And where there are communities, there is a need for truth. And truth makes the best stories. The true storytellers need to live in brands, and they must practice the trade made special by journalism – telling the truth of your community, and helping them tell stories.

Sayonara, journalists. Pretty soon brands won’t need you

Terrifying yet banal writing by Douglas Crets about the contribution ‘brands’ can make to journalism and the art of telling a story.

“To truly serve the human need to know, brands need to step into this opportunity gap to hire writers and journalists. By eliminating marketing for the sake of marketing’s goals, they need to become the new epicenters of human conscience…”

In the context of the rest of his post I’m not sure ‘epicentre’ was really the word Douglas was looking for. Instead of this dreadful hyperbole he could more usefully start by giving us a list of all the great communities brands have gathered around them so we could go check ‘em out. As I said in this post, I don’t think these communities exist.

“… consumers and brands melt into each other’s spaces, because consumers are spending time with brands in an emotional way.”

Where is this happening? Where is the evidence for this claim?

This quote highlights how marketers have co-opted the word community. People form communities with one another around shared interests. Brands are symbolic representations of non-human legal entities. They cannot by definition be part of a community. Don’t make the mistake of believing a brand can be the central focus of a genuine community, unless very specific circumstances apply.

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