Do brands have a Dunbar’s number?

Well do they?150

(You do know what Dunbar’s number is right?)

This question was posed by Manu Prasad over in India, thanks to Gautam Gosh for pointing it out.

Manu ponders that:

if there was a Dunbar number for brands, dictated by the number of people the brand can connect with- internally as well as externally? There are two things I read recently which added to the thought. One was the idea of the Intention Economy (via Surekha) which “grows around buyers” and is “about markets, not marketing”, and which is builts beyond transactions alone – conversations, reputation, authority, respect all of which are earned by the sellers and buyers. This is a provisional idea, the other is a report from 360i (via Mashable) which states that “that a majority of social media search listings that appear for brand-related queries are created by individuals not affiliated with the brand”, an increasing trend.

An interesting concept because behind each brand online is a person, an individual who wants to get out and make a difference. Remember when we engage either online or offline it is about one on one relationships and conversations.

Back to our brand and its people. Each of these people are in fact limited by Dunbar’s number. So does that mean a brand is limited by the number of people they have online times 150?

Thought provoking.

(A side note my view is Dunbar’s number applies to people and specific contexts. For example if you are in a social mode while using a service you can only have meaningful connections with 150 people. While if the next day you are using the same service for business you might interact with a completely different set of 150 people.)

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