December 04, 2015
John Mulder

Celebrate Your Customer’s Values. Not Your Own.

There is a belief among advertisers that brands are increasingly being shaped by the hands of the general public. I believe what they are really saying, is that although brands have always been defined by they way people react to them, today, the consumer actually has the power to drive brand message.

Brands control the brand. Consumers influence the brand message.

I rarely ever suggest abandoning your core brand, but you do need to be mindful of the way people are talking about you. Why? Because on occasion, whom you actually want to be, runs counter to the way people see you. When that happens, a rebrand may be a good strategy.

In the purest sense, consumers have traditionally controlled brands with their wallets and the analytics were almost exclusively a quarterly or annual P&L. As a result, making brand changes was like steering an ocean liner. Methodically, and painstakingly slow. But today, because public opinion is now shared almost instantaneously on social media, marketers must react more quickly. Brands must adapt quickly if necessary.

For example, if your brand is about family values, how exactly do you define and portray a family? Gay marriage legislation, divorce, and biracial couples have changed that conversation. Maybe not overnight, but certainly since your brand’s inception.

4 things to remember:

  1. Consumers control the brand message. Not your brand.
  2. Boldly state why you do what you do.
  3. Connect with real consumers.
  4. Listen to your customer and respond when necessary.
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