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I was with you until the last paragraph, Edward. Because I think it is still VERY much about relationships to brands and categories. For an advocate certainly there is a sense of ownership and a desire for community and influence, but even at that level people are attracted to the commonality that a brand represents. We don't choose brands because they bow to our wishes. We choose them because we aspire to their image. We see something in the brand that fulfills us in some way and we mold ourselves and our lives to the brand, not the other way around.

The heart of your thought is true, that content and community play a bigger role than ever before in this equation. But all of that only serves as overlays that we tile onto a brand to give it life and depth and relevance to our lives. But the best brands know that at their core they need to stand for something that belongs to the brand's own objectives. These objectives should also be in line with what we believe will be the best interests of the customer, but when they are dictacted by the customer we end up with a communist brand of competing Bolsheviks. And that never works out well. ;)

Great post and awesome food for thought.

Bob Knorpp
Host of Ad Age Outlook
Host of The BeanCast Marketing Podcast

4 years, 2 months ago on Five suggestions for creative strategists