Everywhere I go, I see visuals for “like” us, follow us, or scan our QR code. This ubiquitous broadcasting at readers can become desensitizing. And upon landing on their pages, except a few, there is a lack of engagement.

Am I alone on this?

is your brand too clingy

Photo by NTS

Is it wrong for brands to try to connect with customers? I think not. What is it that makes us want to be BFFs with brands? More importantly, how can you, as a creative, connect better with readers?

Are you doing the below 5 things?

  1. Find out what your readers’ needs are
  2. Address them
  3. Use humor through stories
  4. Give permission for readers to connect with other readers
  5. Offer them a face

Readers’ Needs

Aside from viewing pretty pictures for inspiration, what else is to do on a photographer’s Facebook “like” page? Think about that for a minute…then read on πŸ™‚

Address Needs

The cartoon illustrates a disconnect between users and brands. Is that true? Can we truly be friends with certain brands?

My answer, which coincides with Gary Vaynerchuk, is yes you can.

  • Gary calls them context
  • I call them bridges

Why make all of these efforts? We seek emotional attachment. The whole point is that we would make extra efforts to purchase from certain brands if we have a prior relationship with them. Isn’t that smart business thinking?

For example, there are probably 1,000,000 places where I could buy cupcakes in Los Angeles, but I might choose Vanilla Bake Shop over others because I know and had a fun working with Amy Berman. Okay I sort of lied – it’s also because she gave me a boat load of macaroons to eat.

cupcake war

Therefore, I would go out of my way and drive to Santa Monica just to buy from her. So, can you build relationships with brands?

Sure, but do you?

Use Humor Through Stories

The issue with some brands is that they’re not transparent. I have no idea what a logo might represent. Oh, but if there’s a story behind it, then perfect!

Stories are always fun to read. Storytelling becomes story-sharing, thus viral. It certainly sticks, so we are less likely to forget.

Transparency make brands three-dimensional. I wrote a story about how I met Grace Ormonde. It also discussed Christian Louboutin’s approach with media.

Permission to Connect

One of the biggest reasons why many companies are using Facebook as their new .com is because it’s a wall / board where people can interact with the brand.

This is one of my major proponents for not having a portfolio website (nowhere to connect). It’s good, but limited.

Additionally, don’t try to always broadcast (one-way) messages. Interact. An easy way is to ask questions! The more bridges (or contexts) you build, the better.


We like a face that’s relatable. How can you be friends with…let’s say a Coke logo? Yes, I understand that it’s a bigger company that most. But Starbucks did it.

Whenever I visit my local Starbucks, they know me by name AND the drink I always order. Conversely, I know my barista’s name and face.

Hopefully, if you see my face, you’ll associate it with Tofurious.

lawrence chan sxsw

Yes, I like cats. Dogs too, but I favor felines.

Emotionally Clingy?

Now, go “like” me here and follow me here lol! Just kidding.

Share with peers via Facebook or Twitter if you enjoyed this post!

Comment one example where you would go out of your way to do something simply because you have a relationship with that business.

Happy Tuesday,

Lawrence Chan

P.S. Donavan Freberg shared a funny story about the psychology of pricing:

Wanted to share this story…

I was in Santa Monica today and passed by a vintage jewelry store. In the window was two old watches. I thought they were both really cool and I popped inside to inquire on the prices.

The man said, “The Rolex is $7,500. The Hamilton is $500.”

I said, “That seems a bit steep for an old silver Rolex, but the Hamilton sounds like a good deal!”

He said, “That is just there to make the Hamilton look affordable, I find that if I sell two watches side by side and price one way higher than it should be, people don’t try to haggle with me on the lower priced model. In fact, they don’t even flinch.”

I said, “thanks for being honest and you’re a great businessman.” A smile creeped across his face and he quietly said, “I know.”

Ha!!! Sound familiar? πŸ˜‰

It’s a lot like my experience with eyebrow waxing… free chapter here.

P.P.S. My t-shirt is an example of a bridge. Feline lovers will (hopefully) connect with me better. Canine lovers will also connect with me, except in a different way.

P.P.P.S. Part II of post – http://tofurious.com/2011/03/bff-relationships-with-brands-part-ii/