social networking

This tag is associated with 2 posts

Facebook breaks the brand permission rules


Back in February, I wrote a post about how Google stepped beyond its brand permission limits with the launch of the Buzz platform, a classic brand mistake (read more about brand permission here or here). Over the last few months, Facebook has also moved into a dangerous brand space, and may be doing permanent damage to its brand in the process.

You’ve probably seen people (or participated in) spewing venom at Facebook about its privacy practices, so I certainly won’t rehash that stuff here. If this is news to you, and you want to see what people are saying and how Facebook is responding, this interview in The New York Times with Facebook’s VP for Public Policy from earlier this week is a good starting point.

So, beyond the (really good) privacy reasons, why is it so bad that Facebook is making more of your information public by default? What’s the brand mistake? Let’s again look to the brand tags site for some clues. According to the site, the top terms associated with Facebook are:

addictive
annoying
boring
college
community
friends
fun
kids
lame
myspace
networking
people
social networking
stupid
waste of time
young

I’ve put in bold a few terms I think are especially important. If I was to put them in a sentence, it’d read something like “Facebook is a social networking site where people have fun or waste time with their community of friends.”

For most people, this sentence describes the service they signed up for. And hundreds of millions of people must value the Facebook brand for this purpose, because Facebook has been one of the fastest growing platforms the world has ever seen.

Continue reading

Google Buzz didn’t get permission, but it also didn’t get brand permission


You’ve probably seen at least one of the 9 zillion articles written over the last week about Google Buzz. The feedback from the public has been, well… kinda ugly. There are plenty of articles and blogs analyzing problems with the Buzz launch around user privacy, opt in vs. opt out, and that kind of thing, so I won’t rehash those arguments.

Bumblebee sez: yo Google, you really should have asked first!

In this post, we’ll look at the brand mistake Google made in how they launched Buzz.

This article from the San Francisco Chronicle website about a class action lawsuit filed against Google caught my eye because of the following paragraph:

Google turned Gmail “into a social networking service and that’s not what they signed up for, Google imposed that on them without getting their consent,” said Kimberly Nguyen, consumer privacy counsel with EPIC of Washington, D.C.

That sentence is a great articulation of why Buzz is a classic case of not securing brand permission, a subject I have covered here and here.

To be of any value, a brand must create meaning in people’s minds. People associate certain terms or ideas with that brand. If you want to see a awesome experiment in brand meaning, check out the Brand Tags site.

Continue reading

Hey, I Wrote a Book!

The Ad-Free Brand: Secrets to Building Successful Brands in a Digital World

Available now in print and electronic versions.

%d bloggers like this: