Homemade Branding: Good or Evil?
Via Shel Holtz, I learn of George Master's homegrown efforts on behalf of iPod. Shel, who once was Barbie's PR agent, points out that not all companies are going to be equally pleased by homegrown marketing efforts -- especially when they spread faster than the company's own marketing efforts.
Oooh.. that's an itchy problem. Do I, as a brand manager, opt for tight "command and control" over my brand? Or am I damned glad the word is getting around for free, even though I might not control the meme?
Apple is doing just fine with iPod, thank you, so they don't need any help (I don't know if they want it).
But other groups should be begging for help. Earlier I reffed the (excellent) efforts of Oliver Willis and crew to push the Democratic Party into branding itself by inviting the public to create Democratic ads. Lord knows if any institution could use a tighter brand, it's the world's oldest political party.
I think this slippery eel is going to get away from brand managers. Micropublishing (blogs and wikis) already let consumers write about products and companies in a way that brand managers could only dream about (or quake about) five years ago. Taking it one step further to homemade ads, either supportive or in parody, is a short next step.
Memo to marketing: what's our policy going to be?