The internet has rubbed our facebooks in our ignorance

I must have heard it half a dozen times in the last few weeks, each time spoken as though it were a new revelation: “We don’t own the brand any more, the customer owns the brand.”

“We” marketers have never owned the brand. We just thought we did. What has happened is the internet has come along and rubbed our facebooks in our ignorance. It has twittered both truth and falsehood and given our brands second lives we never knew they could have.

Our brands are our children. We can sow them with our genes, we can give them the best of homes and the finest of educations. But we can never be sure that they will turn out quite as we intended; and the moment they get out into the big wide world they become exposed to all kinds of people who shape their experiences and are shaped by them in turn.

So maybe we should start thinking of brands as viruses – once in the wild they may mutate, spread like wildfire, burn with a passion then fizzle out, or cycle round for centuries. We can prod them, tweak them and nurture them, but never quite own them.

I find ‘culturing’ a brand like that a far more exciting and interesting prospect than old school marketing. Bring it on.

Jeremy Shaw
Kitcatt Nohr Alexander Shaw

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