Renewed definiton of brand

by photographer PiccoloNamek and
image via Wikipedia

This is the fourth in a series of short posts related to The CMO Agenda research. Informed by recent CMO conversations and CMG Partners‘ collective experience helping top marketers develop marketing strategy, we have compiled a list of seven ideas or jump starters for further conversation. These are meant to spark discussion, ideas, and action as we all enter a difficult 2009.

The transparency and accountability of brands is increasing as new uses of the Internet drive the democratization of voice — shifting knowledge and control from marketers to consumers. This trend is forcing marketers to adopt non-traditional methods of brand management to ensure the brand is consistent not only in communications but through all customer touch points. As one CMO put it, “everything we do communicates.”

If you beleive that the true definition of a brand lies with the perceptions of consumers not with the marketing leaders, then the extreme brand management practice would be for consumers to drive the expression of the brand. Well maybe not, but this is exactly what the maker of Skittles has done (knowingly or unknowingly).

In March, Skittles re-launched their website, which used social media tools for content: Twitter for “Chatter”, Facebook for “Friends”, Wikipedia for “product information” and YouTube for “Media”. This was heralded by some and refuted as a circus trick by others (see a previous post for my take).  Unfortunately, I have not been able to find information on the performance of the campaign.

This example, whether good or bad, does provide a new theory for brand managers and bring to reality the old phrase “a brand is what others say about you, not what you say about yourself.” How will you begin to renew your brand management practices to align with consumer voice?

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