Oct 14, 2009

The Brands are their Fans

If "media is the message" according to the well known Marshall McLuhan equation, on Facebook the "brands are their fans".

Fan pages are one of the most widely used mediums of expression and association on the network.  A very significant part of these, around 1 out of 4, concern brands.

Whether it be the official page created by the brand itself, the one initiated by the fans, which the brand subsequently joins forces with or not, or even the pages dedicated to products.
Here are the top 30 on Facebook:


This ranking of products is very revealing:

It reflects more than 54 million pieces of fan feedback and brand support. This number accounts for 1/6 of Facebook. Of course, numerous fans supported many brands.

Starbucks, “a hang our place for real”, is in the lead as first place in the virtual world.  This is not an accident!

Neither is the strong presence of candies and various “junk food” brands, such as Nutella, Pringles, Kinder, Ferrero Rocher, Krispy Kreme, Reese’s, Skittles, and the ever essential Toblerone.
What are they all doing on Facebook?

They are expressing an identity, even an attitude.  Red Bull is the only beverage present in the top 30 besides Coca-Cola.  Unthinkable, without this “attitude” component, the red beverage has achieved a third of the “fan level” of the black liquid.

It is similar with “fashion” brands, whether it is clothing, shoes, accessories, or boutiques, which compete with food.  Adidas and Victoria Secret are in the lead, followed by Nike, Converse, Zara, Puma, Lacoste and H&M. 

Is a brand not showing in the top 500 in danger?  Without a doubt, even if they don’t know it yet!

This virtual use of brands on Facebook is usually doubly passive, meaning that the fans are proud to belong, but are not very active, and that the brands themselves, in many cases, are often left alone due to not being very active, even on their official fan pages.

This is not at all the case with Coca-Cola who uses its fan page as an active tool and shows the way.

McLuhan would say that fan pages are mild, neither cold like the television, neither hot like the radio. 
Social networks are a media all their own.  Here the media is you!  When a user declares him or her to be a fan, brand and user mutually assert themselves.  

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