Memetic Sponder

Maybe just a sketch to you, but as I mentioned while we were talking – this kind of personal media, in terms of how it pervaded our time together and was so intimately intertwined with identity (both yours and mine) has a completely different fidelity than a vid or photo.

And the terms of how you live your life with several persona or channels open (i.e. web analyst and artist at once) seems inevitable to me, but very unevenly distributed … so … comfortably uncommon.

It gives Marshall Sponder memetic qualities.

Quality time. Thanks.

M. Cayley by Marshall Sponder

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 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

The dog experiment

Last night I made a post over at Memetic Brand’s sister blog, Social Capital Value Add, called “What’s with the dog?“.

Social Capital Value Add is an inherently complex concept. It is based upon lots of simple ideas that everyone gets right away:

– in 2004 broadband changed the game,

– there is a “new” word of mouth power out there that brands are vulnerable to,

– brand loyalty matters,

– etc, etc, etc.

The point of developing SCVA is that there is a lot more about all of this that we do not understand at the moment, than there are simple things to grab onto. How do you get across that complexity when people are time starved and operating with attention deficits (or what McLuhan would call “narcotic numbness“)?

Symbols matter. They signal something. They are the tip of the ice berg. But, we are developing the idea here at Memetic Brand that the symbol itself is a lot less important than traditional brand management has (rightfully, within the broadcast paradigm) us believing.

I am not betting on the dog. The dog is cute. I hope the dog gets your attention. I hope that the dog signals to you that SCVA is an idea worth passing on. I hope you scratch the dog a little (go ahead he likes that) and discover the Wizard of Oz metaphor that encompasses for me the difference between symbolic brand and memetic branding.

I hope that we discover together that if we make the kinds of investments that SCVA points us towards, we will all become “clever enough wizards” to quickly transform from Great Oz into leadership of great courage, heart and brains.
Playing a role in personal identity formation by recognizing our social network connections with certifications (the Scarecrow’s diploma), testimonials (the Tin Man’s ticking heart) and medals of honour (the Lion’s courage) will be familiar aspects of our strategy and tactics.