Who Owns Your Brand?

It’s almost eerie. I seem to be guided, book by book, conversation by conversation, to a new way of thinking about a subject I thought I had down pat.

The subject, of course, is branding. And the issue is, who owns the brand?

Every entrepreneur I know will think emphatically that they own the brand. They may have had some help with the logo design and trade dressing, and perhaps the brand name, but they made sure they owned the rights to each and every element of the brand. They have contracts with their creative suppliers to prove it.

Both management and I have been laboring under this paradigm that the company dictates and directs its brand(s). It is up to them to provide an image and messages about the brand they believe will sway prospects to become customers, and convince customers to be loyal advocates.

But the evidence is growing that the ultimate ownership of a brand is the group called “customers”.

Now I won’t get into details in this blog – more to come – but I will cite several books I’ve found recently that support this theory.

       Brand Hijack by Alex Wipperfurth
The Culting of Brands by Douglas Atkin
Fusion Branding by Nick Wreden

And both Tom Peters and Seth Godin embrace the concept in their recent writings.

The implications and how to manage brands when customers “own” them will be explored here in future entries.

Martin Jelsema

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