The Customer Isn't Always

Schultz, Heidi
January 2005
Marketing Management;Jan/Feb2005, Vol. 14 Issue 1, p9
This article discusses the negative implications of the idea that the customers own the brand for the practice of brand management. The idea confuses the fundamental concept of brands, brand image, brand equity, brand reputation and brand relationships. Brands are unique in that they create value for both the organization and its customers. No other business asset is quite like a brand. Strong brands engage customers, capture their imagination, and foster loyalty by their promise of quality, consistency and character. For an organization, brands can shift the demand curve positively, enabling higher prices, margins or volumes than it would otherwise achieve. Additionally, brands may create barriers to entry and the potential for extension or expansion to additional markets or categories. Consumers and brand users allow a brand into their lives and their psyches. Since they ultimately control whether or not they will favor the brand in a purchase or use situation, they have power and influence over the brand's success. But they do not control the brand itself. They do not have any enforceable rights to the brand, except to the extent that various consumer protection laws help to safeguard them against counterfeiting and misrepresentation.


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