Jo and I had lunch today with Erika Uffindell, brand guru and founder of leading brand agency, Uffindellwest.
While we were speaking, I couldn't help wonder if it is possible to create and manage a brand anymore: it strikes me that we are entering a new paradigm where brands aren't defined by businesses, but by their customers.
Twitter has been thrown open to the world - and look at the results. Everywhere, people are creating applications and 'follow me' icons to turn Twitter into what they want it to be. What would have happened if it had been locked down with brand guidelines and IP protection?
David Meerman Scott talks about losing control in his World-Wide Rave - having an idea and releasing it on the basis that the rewards will come later from advocacy and followership. Perhaps it's not suited to every business, but it does seem that the organisations that are opening themselves up are the ones creating a new kind of brand awareness and loyalty, setting the stage for the next economy.
Is this a revolution or a return to basics? Listen to our customers, act with integrity, abandon manufactured values and deliver a brand that customers want: perhaps it's not rocket science after all.