Social Media’s Brand Intimacy Problem

Is “brand intimacy” really the standard goal we should be striving for with social media in business?

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Image via Wikipedia

I read DMNews’ article on Billabong launching its “I surf because” social media campaign where Stirling Howland, the digital marketing manager for Billabong International was quoted as saying, “The challenge for any brand is creating intimacy with the consumer. It’s so easy to just be a ‘big brand’ and assume people all want to hear the same thing.”

That made me wonder if creating intimacy between a brand and the customer is the “default” goal we should be trying to achieve. Are there times when a company’s customers would prefer to have impersonal, professional, and anonymous interactions instead?

We assume that customers want to interact with a person at a company, not just a “nameless behemoth.” Maybe I just have a touch of 1950’s nostalgia, but I’m happy to work with companies who don’t put on a personal face.

Some products I buy I want the brand and the store to make just make the transaction and doing nothing else…in fact, sometimes I value that experience more and am willing to go the extra mile for it.

There can be a lot of value in a company coming off as a company and not as a person.
What do you think?