As I pointed out in Manifesto 02, the secret to great brand building is to “understand [a] consumer community.” Not to be the leader necessarily, but to be “an integral part of the tribe.”
Too often it seems that brands are trying to be built on a delusional platform that the brand will be the center of their consumers lives. And many marketing thought-leaders (whether real or imagined) espouse this notion that all brands can be such. It was, therefore, nice to read Brain on Fire Spike’s comments yesterday on this subject:
What’s been forgotten is the basic principle that we all learned from the beginning: We cannot be the center of anybody’s universe. They will not rotate around it. Fixate on it. Or make their lives all about your product or service. But what we CAN hope to achieve is to become included in their universe. To be a part of it. To fit within their lives. It’s a common thing to hear around here that “it’s not how that customer fits into brand X. It’s about how brand X fits into that customer’s life.”
That’s how the really effective (and often less-than-glamorous—except to stakeholders) offerings succeed. It is not being the figurehead; it is being the irreplaceable backbone.