I know, it sounds a little extraterrestrial (and kind of creepy) but here is what it is about.  Brands are behaving more and more like humans and humans are behaving more and more like brands.

It isn’t exactly a new trend.  Brands have been trying to relate to people (obviously) for decades, in fact practically since the idea of branding came into being.  The spokesperson is a classic branding strategy.  The slice of life commercial.  The testimonial.  This is how brands used to behave like people.

Then came social media.  Now the brand elephant really has to learn to dance.  It’s personal, its one-on-one and, it’s a conversation.  Historically, however, brands are better at broadcasting.  So what they did in the early days of social media was basically barge-into our conversations, invade our facebook pages and tweet in the most insincere and hallow way possible.  But that is changing.  Brands are mastering the new medium, the etiquette and even entering the conversation in more human terms.  Ok, brands becoming people (again).

Now, what about people becoming brands?  This isn’t that new either but it is newer.  Bob Villa, Lee Iacocca, Martha Stewart (assuming she is actually a person).  People so closely associate with what they were selling they became the brand.  But even before this, Leo Burnett, using his “inherent drama” approach created all kinds of hominids (or  critters as we used to call them), even if some of them were elves living in a tree, green giants or talking tuna fish.  Let’s just say this, they spoke English.  Charlie the Tuna even sounded like he was from Brooklyn.

Social media turns out to be the means by which we redefine humans behaving like brands also.  Through multiple social channels, we all brand ourselves a little bit.  Even if it is just through what is essentially an electronic resume (a.k.a. linkedin), we are creating a more concrete idea of who we are and sharing it with the world.  When we begin to layer the social platforms, we begin to create a “social graph” that creates a human brand.

Yes, I believe this is an essential post-modern phenomenon…brands behaving like people; people behaving like brands.  The brandroginization of the species.