Sunday, April 10, 2011

Who is in Control of a Company's Brand?

       Tomorrow is the first exam of the quarter in my Social Media Class. While reviewing, I stumbled upon this quote in the book Groundswell by Josh Bernoff:

     The value of a brand belongs to the market, and not to the company. The company in this sense is a tool to create value for the brand...Brand in this sense--it lives outside the company, not in the company. When I say that the management is not prepared for dealing with the brand, it is because in their mind-set they are managing a closed structure that is the company. The brand is an open structure--they don't know how to manage an open structure.

      My interpretation of this argument is that the public contributes a great deal to a company's brand. I do not think this is necessarily the case. While people have the opportunity to interact with company websites, and forums, at the end of the day a brand concept is created by the company itself. Feel free to disagree, that is why I am re-posting this quote, to spark discussion!

      The term brand can be defined several ways. My personal definition of a brand is in the details. For example, a retailer's brand begins with the way customers are greeted when they enter stores. It is then reinforced through tangibles such as lighting, store design, logos, bags, pricing and displays. A brand is the complete embodiment of an organization. To me, a brand is ideals on paper brought to life by hand-picked designers and a thoughtfully crafted web-persona. I feel social media can be used as a great extension of a brand, but the brand does not begin and end online. Social media may also serve as an indicator of how well a brand reads to its customers. If the brand is negatively received it is a lot easier to spot using online forums and comments. In conclusion, while a brand can be expanded upon online using social media tools, I believe the majority of a brand is still in each company's control.

Eager as always to hear your thoughts!

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