It started a few years ago. Brand owners and marketers finally shifted from “we’ll make it and they’ll buy it” to a more nuanced appreciation of the implicit contract between consumers and brands.
Problem is, things have gotten out of hand:
- “Our brand is consumer-driven. So we’ll field some research and let consumers decide which creative we use.”
- “Brand experience is everything; the people who EXPERIENCE our brand own it.”
- “Branding is a dialog…we need a conversation with our customers.”
- “In the age of social media, we need to give up control, and engage with the bloggers and Tweeters and followers who write about our brand.”
- “We’re crowd-sourcing our brand meaning.”
- “We don’t own our brand…our consumers do.”
When it comes to brand ownership, it’s time for some straight talk. This is one case where the lawyers actually have it right; Consumers DON’T own your brand. YOU do. Sure they (consumers, bloggers, employees, retailers and others) have a voice. Today more than ever. And yes, they are invested stakeholders. They need to be listened to, responded to, respected and engaged.
But don’t abdicate your ownership just because it’s the fashion today. At the end of the day, it’s not their brand. It’s yours. It’s your investment. It’s your profits. It’s your legacy. It’s your vision. It’s your BRAND.