BRANDING TODAY IS ABOUT CREATING CUSTOMERS, NOT PRODUCTS

Ever wonder how branding has changed since the Mad Men days? These two diagrams tell the whole story. Show this slide from The Brand Flip when you need to persuade your colleagues that customers come first.

 THE NEW BRAND MODEL

On the left is the old model of brand. It was based on the logic of the factory. The company creates the brand (through products and advertising), the brand attracts customers (as a captive audience), and the customers supported the company (through repeat purchases). Logical, right?

On the right is the new model of brand. It’s quite similar, but with one important difference. Instead of creating the brand first, the company creates customers (through products and social media), the customers build the brand (through purchases and advocacy), and the customer-built brand sustains the company (through “tribal” loyalty). This model takes into account a profound and counterintuitive truth: a brand is not owned by the company, but by the customers who draw meaning from it. Your brand isn’t what you say it is. It’s what they say it is.

In the old days, a company could find a hole in the market, fill it with a product, determine a price, and drive the product into people’s lives with heavy advertising and distribution. The only choice customers had was to buy or not to buy. The real power lay with the company, whose leaders were seen as authority figures.

Today’s customers reject that authority, and at the same time want a measure of control over the products they love. They no longer buy brands. They join brands. They want a vote in what gets produced and how it gets delivered. They’re willing to roll up their sleeves and help out, not only by promoting the brand to their friends, but by contributing content, volunteering ideas, and even selling products or services. It’s a new brand world.

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