Congratulations is definitely in order for Facebook this week as they surpassed one billion users and moved up Interbrand's Best Global Brands list. However, the recent brand spot released to coincide with the milestone feels a bit forced, to say the least.
The spot, which I'm dubbing "Chairs Remind Us We're Not Alone," fails to illustrate brand purpose while trying too hard to make an emotional connection. Developing emotional connectivity between brands and consumers is a visceral process, not a directional one. Emotional connections deliver on a relevant and purposeful story and cannot be scripted nor delivered with confusing marketing metaphors.
We know emotional connections stem from a marriage of people and purpose. Brands rely upon people believing in a brand's purpose and, from that belief, comes not only connectivity and affinity, but also advocacy. Facebook's unique purpose is built on their global success of connecting people via experiences and ideas. This brand is changing the world and we, as users of the platform, already know this as we live it.
Facebook is more than chairs, it's more than basketball games, it's more than laughs and stories. Facebook is our emotional gateway to other people. Emotional stories are not created in a lab or created in a conference room. Creating an ad for Facebook needs to tap into what we do as people. The brand story needs to bridge the divide from offline to online through contextual experiences.
Google's Chrome films are excellent at bridging this divide. But while Chrome can focus on that one true experience many of us can relate to, Facebook is built on multiple experiences, connections and ideas. Illustrating this unique truth is where the brand belief comes in—not necessarily because it's emotional, but because it's honest and relevant to the individual experiences of users.
Facebook had a unique opportunity to leverage the connectivity and human experience the no other brand has ever attained — more than a billion voices and a billion experiences worldwide. It could have told the story of a brand that has purpose already intertwined in world culture. It could have asked the billion voices to tell their story of Facebook and their experiences within Facebook.
Marketers and advertisers need to remember that people know when they are being force-fed marketing prose. Let's take a cue from our clients and connect with people, let's make experiences relevant, let's tell stories that are built on truth and connections. Let's put the social back into social media.