Why We Judge The Friends in Our Life More Harshly Than We Judge Brands


I’ve heard many metaphor of how we (as brand experts) should study friendships between people, and then apply those principles to the brands we work on.  If only we could get people to value our brands in the same way they value their friendships with real world loved ones – so the theory goes.

It occurred to me that this is completely the opposite of reality.  Most people value the brands in their life much more than their friends.

The value of a brand is something like the level of perceived value, vs. actual value derived. The greater the level of perceived value we give something the stronger the brand.  Some brands like say a ‘Prada’ handbag has a lot of perceived value. It costs $3,000 to purchase. However the thing is made in China with cheap leather and raw materials cost around $12.00.

However, with most friendships we measure their worth by actual value, not perceived value.  If they are good to us, if they call us on our birthday, if they share similar interests so we can do things together and talk about things together, then they are scored highly.  There is little room for perceived value. If they are a good friend (by doing good things for us) they are rated as high value, if they are not, then they fade away.  There is some perceived value if they are successful or well known, but beyond that we judge friendships with a harsher criteria than we judge brands.

The reason, friendships with actual people do very little ‘marketing’. There value is based on who they are, and what they do, not the gloss they put on it.

If you want the people in your life to value you more, then you should think more like a brand. Put a layer of marketing on top of everything you do, and every interaction and you’ll be valued much more.

Friendships between people can learn a lot more from brands, than brands can learn from friendships between people.

Perhaps Facebook is teaching everyone to act more like a brand and build their own perceived value (by presenting glossy images of themselves) so one-day we will all be as valued by others as brands are?

This thought scares the bejesus out of me. Agree??