The Friendship Measure: The truth behind Digital ROI.
What is an interaction?
What is feeling and how can it be measured? We can look at the standard ROI labels and perhaps even measure consumer sentiment by scanning media for positives and negatives, but that doesn’t work for me.
How do you measure friendship?
Sure, there’s a scale from Best Man and Bridesmaid down to people you share an occasional meal with, but this isn’t something that can truly be jotted down and given a value. So why are we trying to do this with digital media and social interactions? It satisfies a column in a spreadsheet and makes investors less nervous about returns, but we don’t really know what that figure means.
Our Public and Private selves.
From experience, we all know that the things people say in public and what they really feel are very different and I imagine that there are very few people any of us would recommend with all of our heart. Yet, in the social space, we add up the pluses and minuses and confidently use this as a measure of brand worth across our consumer landscape.
It’s just not true!
There is no way to know who your biggest brand ambassador is, they may never express anything online about their preferred choice of golf ball and, if they did, their 7 followers won’t count for much by way of brand-to-the-dollar conversion.
It’s not the end of the road, it’s the beginning.
This is, however, very good news and it does not mean that brands cannot use sentiment and other fluffy notions to talk about the level of advocacy amongst users, but it does mean that brands have to continuously be real, talk truth and walk the talk.
This is a very good thing.
Expect to see brands that understand this stop trying to leverage every single tweet and comment from their fans, but rather reward them with good value, the occasional chance at five minutes of fame and perhaps some product updates when appropriate.
Less clutter does not mean less meaning.
Every single one of us has ‘that person’ to whom we rarely communicate, rarely see and think about now and then. What happens with those good friends, because life and circumstance change, is that they may be far away, but the moment we reconnect, it’s like we never left high school.
A friend in deed.
Your go-to brands should be like that, not in your face, but always there when you need them: for a chat, some reassurance or just a friendly face when things go pear-shaped. Friends act, like friends, great brands will learn to do the same.