A Worthy Request: Signal of Altruistic Type

Check out this post by Collin please. You should do this because he is a great guy and his sister is doing something cool.

From a memetic branding stand point, you might want to think about how altruism is important to everthing that you do in this new era that we live in.

“Economic theory suggests at least three mechanisms which induce the decision-maker to treat the partner more generously when there is a prospect of future interaction. First, the decision-maker can grant favors because she expects the partner to repay these in the future (enforced reciprocity)… Second, the possibility of future interaction gives incentives for the decision-maker to signal her altruistic type to the partner (Benabou and Tirole 2006). Third, psychological game theory has modeled preference-based reciprocity where decision-makers behave generously because they expect the partner to behave kindly towards them in some future interaction, and because they derive utility from rewarding kind behavior (Rabin 1993, Dufwenberg and Kirchsteiger 2004)” (Leider, Stephen, Mobius, Markus, Rosenblat, Tanya and Do, Quoc-Anh, “How Much is a Friend Worth? Directed Altruism and Enforced Reciprocity in Social Networks” p.1, October 2007)

The definition of social surplus that most “iPod killer” strategies employ is greater “utility.” They seek to beat iPod by building a better mousetrap with better product features and better design. Rebate strategies and typical loyalty programs (earning points for rewards) are also widely tried methods.

It is a social surplus defined as greater signal of altruistic type that may be the most interesting to study further as the link between social capital and corporate earnings comes to be accepted. There is some evidence that social Causes are the kind of maxim behind which business may align their activities as they develop memetic brands. For example just the top 5 causes on the Causes application on Facebook reach about 7.5 million people.

It brings with it the possibility of new motives for corporate social responsibility. Not only will the corporation be asked to be more accountable for its actions, perhaps the corporation can be encouraged to invest in ways for its social connections – consumers, suppliers, employees, investors, owners, analysts and value added resellers – to move beyond feel-good CSR tactics towards a relationship in which the opportunity is seized by each forging identities based upon greater social contribution.

UPDATE: More on memetic branding & altruism … Memetic Pepsi.

Please check out the cross-post over at www.socialcapitalvalueadd.com for the corporate implications beyond memetic branding of this thinking.
Add to FacebookAdd to NewsvineAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Furl

Memetic Naming: A Boy Named Sue – Johnny Cash

Check out this link to find a pretty good overview of traditional brand thinking when it comes to brand naming:

What makes a winning brand name? A name that requires no introduction, no explanation and very little advertising to give it clout.

Here is great new thinking about naming from Seth Godin:

A long time ago, the goal of a name was to capture the essence of your positioning. To deliver a USP, so you could establish supremacy in your space just with your name. International Business Machines and Shredded Wheat were good efforts at this approach.

It quickly became clear, though, that descriptive names were too generic, so the goal was to coin a defensible word that could acquire secondary meaning and that you could own for the ages. That’s why “Jet Blue” is a much better name than “Southwest” and why “Starbucks” is so much better than “Dunkin Donuts”.

“Naming companies” flourished, charging clients hundreds of thousands of dollars to coin made up words like Altria.

And here is a something that made me think – hey!  a memetic brand name!

What do you think?  Life ain’t easy for a boy named sue, but its that name that had memetic qualities and implications far beyond any traditional notion of market positioning.

UPDATE: Doug added a great comment below: “I think one person who has used his memetic name quite well is Om Malik, of GigaOm.com – the homonymic relation to ohm gives it a tech luster while keeping the sense of the personal perspective of a curator of information.

Heh, heh! – for a much better shot at introducing this idea of memetic branding you really should read the ebook.

Are relationships memetic?

Here is a quote from one of my forum discussions:

Michael, you state,”Of course relationships can be controlled by third parties and varying environmental contexts. Ask any pair of siblings who have been separated by the border between North and South Korea or the Berlin Wall. Ask Facebook, who at first did not let you in unless you were a student. Or Google, who knows what they are up to?”
That’s true for “physical restraints/boundaries” but not “mental/motivational states” which are the essence of relationships.

So I agree. Perhaps “influence” is a better word to use than control when it comes to describing relationships. But I am not trying to be politically correct here. I am concerned that the potential exists for corporations to get so far ahead in managing and exploiting social networks that their “influence” will amount to “control” for many.

In any event, this exchange provoked some new thinking for me. Perhaps the “memetic brand” idea is worth exploring for a reason that I have not previously directly addressed?

Relationships are memetic.

Broadband powered individuals are the emerging dominant media platform.

What makes relationships evolve or become extinct?  We all have a well developed instinct for that ..

This basic instinct can move us a great distance towards understanding how brands live or die beyond the broadcast era.

Add to FacebookAdd to NewsvineAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Furl