Brand Strategy: Who Owns the Brand?

Brand Strategy Breakfast ConversationI had an amazing potential client-partner conversation this morning where we were discussing brand strategy and the future of his particular brand; as well as the future of branding in general. The discussion, though brief, was a great exchange between current v. future.

The question arose, who really owns the brand?

I think in today’s semitransparent world we are witnessing a shift in what was traditionally a clear cut answer; the company. However, the conversation and ideas that we were discussing for his brand was outside of this “black and white” thinking. While discussing where to begin, the notion of community, advocates, and passionate customers came into the conversation.

What emerged from this is the idea of giving the brand away and letting the community define what it is, while we, the communicators, steer the conversation towards a particular vision. Imagine our brand is a ship, and we are the captain. The crew, ocean, the weather (and whales) are our customers.

We know where we want to go, but it’s influenced by these other factors.

I know this isn’t a novel topic, or one that hasn’t been discussed before, but the power and implication that this could have on a brand and how we participate in marketing and communications is very substantial.

Imagine an ongoing process where feedback and interaction drives the very essence of what a company is and where it’s going. Imagine if this process was baked into the company itself. Imagine the level of intimacy that would be built within the community between the brand and each individual. The possibilities of success, growth, and advocacy are seemingly endless. The opportunities to expand product lines and services through daily conversation are clear while the communication strategy is simply a continued conversation and exceeding expectations.

A great conversation with some outstanding implications. I hope to have more like this.

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2 Responses to “Brand Strategy: Who Owns the Brand?”

  1. Shobha Ponnappa September 22, 2012 11:19 pm #

    I know where you are coming from on this one.

    As a brand strategist myself, its been quite a few years since clients felt they owned the brand that they had to push down customer throats. These days the idea is definitely sinking in that the company has to be “brave enough” to let go of the brand and let the customer decide what it is all about to him.

    Some brands have learnt to even let the customer co-create the “brand”.

    It makes more sense to let the customer own the brand and for the company to own the customer! How many companies do we know that are so preocccupied owning the brand that they haven’t a clue who inside the company owns the customer!

    Do drop by my site when you can to see what I’ve written about brand strategy.

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