Rian shared a link to a blog post by Leigh Alexander titled “The New Intimacy Economy” which touches on something I noticed a few years ago when I thought about FNB’s personified brand, its “RB Jacobs” persona.
It’s a clever tactic that plays on our preference to deal with human beings rather than some or other impersonal brand. The more you relate to a brand the more comfortable you feel with it. It becomes a “someone” and not a “something”. As Alexander puts it:
Anyone you admire starts to feel available to you via social media, and the more they cultivate that impression of a relationship, the better you, as a consumer, will perform.
I think we’ll see much more of this going forward, especially as we start interacting more and more with smart systems like messaging services (I think we can expect Facebook Messenger to start “behaving” like this first) and our digital personal assistants as they become smarter (for example, Siri and Google Now).
I can see some people specifically wanting an obviously artificial experience in the near future as these personified brands and services become a little too personal, a little too realistic. I wonder if service providers will take steps to ensure that their interfaces look just artificial enough to make us more comfortable using them. Making a service or machine too human may be a little too freaky for us humans for a while still.
Image credit: Wooden Robot from Kaboompics