Whose Brand Is It Anyway

Her’s a question to start the day:  Does a brand belong to the company or to the customer?  Before you give me a knee-jerk reaction, think about it for a second.  Does “New Coke” ring a bell?  The company put out what it believed to be a better product and customers demanded that they restore the product to its former state.  That’s the best example in my mind but I’m sure you can think of others.

The reason I bring it up this morning is a video I watched from Shore Communications in which John Blossom and Peter Propp discuss the Microsoft acquisition of Skype and how it might affect both brands.  I’ve embedded the video below and you might want to spend 10 minutes to watch.  In the interim, here’s my take.

Marketing has transformed from what I call the “Don Imus School of Brand Management” to where we are today.  Imus used to say during his radio show that “this is how it works – I talk, you listen.”  That’s how marketing used to work:  brands talked, you listened and, hopefully, bought.

Today, brands listen as we all talk.  Which is why I ask the question at the start of the post.  Who controls the essence of the brand?  The people who spend their money on it and bring it into their lives, or the people who make money from it and live off the brand?  I’d argue that it’s changed to the former.  To a certain extent, brands are their reputations, and there is no question as to who owns that.

So watch the video and let me know what you think.  After all, you own this brand too!

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