|We already know, but it's never too much to repeat this rhetorical exercise: Commodities belong to the supermarkets shelves and points-of-sale, they live and can be found there; while brands live on people's mind. Brands are feeded through unique and individual experiences that go beyond the functional benefit; These experiences differ from each person*, they belong to those who feel them - not the ones that provide them. Therefore: Brands belong to people, they belong to the consumers because they're the ones who give an intangible meaning to them. The brand manager or marketer that does not understand this self-evident fact is on the wrong path.
* "To illustrate how people construct their personal mental model of a brand: Take eight, eight-stud LEGO bricks and make a model. You will not be short of alternatives, as these eight bricks can be combined in 102,981,500 different ways. Building a LEGO model serves as a metaphor for how consumers build brands. Each brick represents a single expression of the brand or clue to its character – name, packaging, advertising, promotions, events, experiences, call centre, vehicle livery, and so on." - Connecting with the New Consumer, Mediaedge:Cia
The below quotations speak for themselves:
"Trustmarks don't belong to companies. Trustmarks belong to the people. I own Fast Company magazine. I want it every month. I want to read it, to take it apart, and to spread it around to my friends. The editors of Wallpaper don't own that magazine. I own Wallpaper. It's not theirs, it's mine -- and they'd better not fuck with me." - Kevin Roberts
"It is the consumer that owns the brand (...) Brands are no longer a set of image attributes applied to your product to differentiate it from the competition but an experience" - John Grant
"If consumers are not happy with the brand, they simply do not buy, and the corporation has to adjust according to what the consumers want." - Josephine Wong