Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Fire The Brand Manager, Hire Your Customers...

If MacDonalds has given up then you probably should as well... According to an article in BusinessWeek, Larry Light, CEO of Arcature and the former CMO of McDonald’s had an awakening. He isn't so much a brand manager, but a brand editor...
Light says he realized, while working at McDonald’s as chief marketing officer, that his real job was “Brand Editor.” He believed, and still does, that consumers and other forces, like the media, had too much control over how McDonald’s was perceived for him to pretend he had so much control.
He reckoned that his overall marketing scheme, which encompassed advertising, PR/Communications, franchisee communications, the Web, online forums, the start of social media, “should be treated like a magazine.” And he was the editor-in-chief.
Again, CONTENT IS KING. The article continues by saying a brand shouldn't worry so much about selling, but about providing content...
Few people read a magazine front to back unless they are trapped on a plane, says Light. He says that his insight was that McDonald’s had to offer different audiences different “content,” not ads. But all the content needed to tie back to a central brand idea. BusinessWeek, for example, or People or Time, have different sections and a variety of content for different readers, and each story is edited, art directed and written to a brand identity and mission that make them a BusinessWeek story or People story. The same thinking, thinks Light, should be applied to a brand like McDonald’s, Chevy or Microsoft when it comes to creating brand content.
So it feels more like marketers are guiding the conversation than managing it... Right? Yes, I'm right... As consumers, with social networks in the thousands, make decisions. Any "brand manager" that worries about molding the brand in this way, or that is not thinking of the consumer, but their job. The BusinessWeek article further nails the coffin shut on brand management by saying...
In my reporting over the years, I have come to view the consumer, not the company executive, as “brand advocate.” A brand advocate is considered someone so connected to the brand that they use their own resources and voice to amplify and echo the positive aspects of the brand: i.e. someone who organizes a Harley Davidson gathering or manages a fan site.
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