Brand To The People!

If you’re a brand marketer, you need to realize something critical about that brand you lovingly build and maintain. It’s not yours anymore. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it could become so if you aren’t the sharing type. There’s been a sea change over the last decade, and it has to do with who truly owns and controls a brand. The answer to that is that “the people” own it. The people control it. Notice, I did not call the people “consumers.” That’s an increasingly outdated term that belongs with the increasingly outdated notion that the ownership of a company controls the messaging and perception associated with its products or services. The people that will like your brand enough to bother talking about it are a tribe. They’re your tribe, and you have to take good care of them. After all, they’re currently leading a conversation revolution that will ultimately sculpt your brand.

The conversation revolution started the moment user generated content emerged on the web. That’s when the information stream began to shift. The one-sided conversation that had been in the mouths of brand marketers suddenly became a two-way radio conversation. Then it became a conversation about the brand between friends. And now, the brand voice is often an unwelcome interloper.

So what’s a good, forward thinking brand to do? Roll with it. Your constituency, formerly known as your consumers, will tell you what they need and when they need it. Your pathway now is orchestration, not control. You CANNOT put words into the mouths of consumers. They’ll balk like cattle in the chute, and then they’ll defecate upon your brand. Think of yourself as the homeowner and host of a party, but you aren’t trying so hard to plan every minute. Give your brand loyalists the forum and the opportunity to speak, and they’ll tout the good things about the brand. Better than that, they’ll tell others. It’s a “grow from a seed” mentality that’s grass roots based. You’re now growing the brand voice from the ground up, rather than trumpeting value from the mountaintop. The truth and attributes of your brand are quickly laid bare, and your tribe will take the important pieces and hold them up. You can do this. You just have to become one of the people. Power to the people.

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