I typically like FastCompany.com, particularly for features like The 30 Second MBA. But a recent article by one of its writers leaves me wondering: Do brands, media or otherwise, think we are so trusting of them that we won’t really examine their content?
The article in question is “For Brands, Being Human is the New Black.” It reports, quite uncritically, on a recent presentation by a leading light at a leading design and innovation firm, IDEO in which a gathering of designers was told that “Today, brands are becoming more and more like humans. They’re taking on human traits.”
As the first of only a few online comments on the article itself notes, there’s nothing new here. Brands have long tried to exude qualities like “honesty, kindness and simply having a sense of humor,” and many have for years invested heavily in developing brand personalities, brand voices, and other human-like facets.
I’m not saying the observations are inaccurate, just not new or newsworthy. So why has this article become a Trending Topic on LinkedIn and received so much attention via Twitter? My surmise is that a) it’s not because of the content itself, but because of the widespread trust in the Fast Company and IDEO brands and b) that half of those Updates, Tweets and RTs came after reading only the headline and the source(s). I fear we are all so desperate to stay current in the social conversation that we swallow content whole without examining it – and sooner or later, that will turn trusted content into con-tent.
What are your thoughts?
BTW, for articles and post titles, “The New Black” is the same old cliché. See:
“Twitter is the New Black for Brands.”
“The New Black for Brands is .Co”
“Value is the New Black for Brands”
“English is the New Black: The Branding of English in Korea”
You get the idea.