Do companies own their brand or do the customers own the brand? There are a lot of differing opinions on the subject. I believe companies own the brand – they just don’t have sole control over it (and really, never did – the Internet just makes this more glaring).
Companies set the stage for their brand by communicating their intentions, credibility and value. Customers help shape the brand, collaborate on its direction and share it (good or bad). Today, more than ever, the customer takes the brand a company presents and either accepts it or rejects it – spreading the word or influencing change (as Dell experienced with IdeaStorm).
A huge part of what direction your customers take the brand depends on the company keeping their brand promises. Smart companies recognize this and welcome customer influence by embracing them, conversing with them and inviting collaboration. That means listening and taking action based on customer feedback.