Sunday, February 5, 2012

With Friendship Comes Rewards

All colors are the friends of their neighbors and the lovers of their opposites.  Marc Chagall

This started out as a story about the fickle aspects of friendship, about how it comes and goes, about sometimes we kick friendship around like a tin can for a while and sometimes once we have it, it gets lost in a snow pile and then you find it later on when the snow melts and it's as good as ever; but I got sidetracked into thinking about how there are people that figure they can buy friends, or rent them depending on what is on their calendar that day or about how about when one person falls in love with another person's significant other or that sale of the '07 lemon of a car wrecked the friendship and what a mess that made out of my mind. (Was that a run-on sentence?) 

We need to clean this up. Maybe we could all have a huddle and come to a clear cut agreement amongst ourselves that we should hand out points that can add up to true friendship, because I'm totally confused. It could be just like large business awards loyalty points for return customers. We're all our own brands these days, after all. Why shouldn't we build on that? We could all carry around little cards that would track our traits and build brand friendship loyalty. Handshakes would be worth so many points. Personal references more. Picking up the tab for pizza lunches – definitely more. Holding one's head over the toilet when you're barking at the ants? Bonus points. And then whenever we wanted to we'd all get together for a tally-up and figure out who our friends really are.

We could all have cards with our names on them and a cool graphic of a bridge like the one above (available at a cut rate for the next 30 days but I retain the rights to the image and trademark) depicting the linking of souls or some such and come up with brand strategies complete with, instead of a CRM (customer relationship management) program, a FRM (friendship relationship management) program using technology to organize, automate, and synchronize friendship processes. Based on metrics. We have the software. Yes Virginia, there is an app for that.

Until recently this approach would have gone against my grain because personally I'd rather entertain gaining loyalty from my prospective friends by offering quality of experience, the occasional payoff or giving a better price than my competition for my company right off the bat. But that's so old school. We can do things much more efficiently now. 

The overall goals would be to find, attract, and win new friends, nurture and retain those you already have, entice former friends back into the fold, and reduce the costs of marketing and friend maintenance services. If you don't have to buy the guy a Ferrari, why do it?

Loyalty born out of need, habit, coercion, convenience, downright greed or silly faddishness is the new reality. True loyalty may have come from an ancient place called the land of Integrity but now friendship is based on what I have that you can use to further your means to an end. It's you relating to me because I carry a brand image that you would like other people to associate with your own personal brand. Think of it as ugly people who normally wouldn't be allowed to do so, hanging out with beautiful people singing songs about world love on a hilltop in Switzerland. For a price, you could wear my name and logo on your shirt because my brand identity gives you personal qualities I have that you might never attain on your own.

We're building bridges here. Eliminating personal silos. And if I can't track your friendly habits today, how am I seriously supposed to maximize your experience tomorrow?

I ask you.

So let us build some bridges; bridges born of the greatest marketing minds the world has ever know. Bridges that never rust, never waver and never, ever give way.

Sign up now and reap the benefits of membership! (Reward points expire after 30 days if not used.)

This has been a Tongue-In-Cheek production.

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