Much digital marketing today is not about quality or relevance. It’s about a bunch of new platforms and technologies laid out in front of us and it’s about us throwing ourselves at them. Walk down any high street and you’ll see “Like us on Facebook” on every other store window, sometimes big enough to cover the actual display.
Ask any marketing, PR or ad person and they’ll tell you stories about how Facebook likes, Twitter followers and such are being treated as a currency of success. A lot of likes? Cheers, big boy!
That’s all going to change. One of my favorite media stories from last year was when American fashion brand Abercrombie & Fitch paid Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino of Jersey Shore fame not to wear their clothes. Guilty by association, you know? There was a time when I thought Louis Vuitton was over-reacting to Chinese copycat manufacturers. But when I see a Louis Vuitton bag today I almost always assume it’s fake. The brand has been mugged of its value by people who would purchase a fake handbag.
Some brands and boutiques should request people not to check in, not to like, not to Tweet. Because not all clicks are good ones. It’s easy to feel good about having lots of Twitter followers even though half of them are robots. An invisible friend can be great but it’s hard to ever bring him as a wingman.
Soon we’ll start to see clearly what’s real value and true headcount. Association will become more important than having just any crowd. Your followers will tell me who you are.