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SXSW Interactive 2015

Brands Are Not Here to be Your Fucking Friend

If you’ve ever seen a reality show, you’ve heard the epic battle cry, “I’m not here to make friends. I’m here to win.” So when they’re looking to win, why do brands continue to worry about pleasing everyone – when everyone knows full well that it’s impossible? Is it better to never offend, or to take a stand and potentially piss a lot of people off? Are pissed off people the sign you’re actually doing it right? What’s more beneficial to a brand, a few loyal and devoted supporters, or a whole world of individuals who couldn’t care less. Can a brand act in an unpopular, but nonetheless memorable way, and still benefit from the attention that brings. And before you jump to conclusions, remember: Kanye West interrupted Taylor Swift, and is still worth $120 million.

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  1. When does the idea of being useful contradict the idea of being friendly?
  2. Are businesses generally too worried about being liked?
  3. How does a brand deal with the backlash they’ve generated by doing the right thing?
  4. Are some people more prone to supporting brand that make a stand?
  5. Who cares if we submit a fifth question? Not us.



Graham Nolan, VP Marketing Communications, North America, Momentum Worldwide

Meta Information:

  • Event: Interactive
  • Format: Solo
  • Track: Branding and Marketing
  • Level: Intermediate
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