Stating the Obvious

May 28 2013   5:23PM GMT

Brands Don’t Own Their Brands Anymore (an Unanticipated Social Outcome)

Joseph Carrabis Profile: Joseph Carrabis

NextStage: Predictive Intelligence, Persuasion Engineering, Interactive Analytics and Behavioral Metrics

By now you’ve heard that Ferrero, the makers of Nutella, gave up all rights and claims to the name “Nutella”, the brand “Nutella”, any future exclusivity of its use in any way, shape or form, and admitted in open court “Ferrero no longer owns the Nutella brand, but that’s okay, no other brand, popular or otherwise, owns their brand anymore either. So we’re in good company. We think. So far, anyway. And we’re relinquishing our claims on all our other brands, too.”


Okay, not entirely. Ferrero did a very mid-20th century thing; they attempted to stop a Nutella fan from doing their thing.

Robert De Niro and Wesley Snipes, The FanOkay, sometimes you want to stop a fan from doing their thing.

But basically, now-a-days, you don’t want to stop a fan from doing their thing unless you have real hard evidence that whatever the fan is going to do will harm people.

People. Not the brand.

Because attempting to stop a fan from doing something about the brand won’t work anymore.

You did want your fans to go social, didn’t you? You wanted them on your social networks doing your things, right?

This is where I do a blatant plug for NextStage’s 1 Minute MarketLift PodCasts, especially those in the Social Category. A couple of minutes and a buck or two and you’ll learn how to prevent all sorts of social network catastrophes. Go for it!

But you hadn’t studied your social history, right? But you didn’t know about such things as social movements and how they get started, right? You didn’t recognize the signs that other folks were ego-identifying with this one particular fan, right, and not ego-identifying with the brand, right?

By the way, “ego-identification” is what branding is all about. It’s what happens when an individual so identifies with the brand that they wear the brand’s colors, tat themselves with the brand’s logo, dress in the brand’s fashions and especially when they tell others to shop the brand’s shop.

Now fans have the opportunity to find heros and champions within a brand’s network while being only mildly interested in the brand. The network is doing what networks historically did; it’s allowing people to commerce (not specifically “communicate” but “commerce”, to exchange with each other, one channel being “communicate”).

And if you thought it’s tough controlling conversations, wait ’till you see the headaches around controlling commerce.

It’s that telling part I mentioned a few paragraphs back that’s the problem. That’s where the danger comes in for brands. If I tell my friends to shop the brand’s shop and if I have a lot of friends and I tell them to shop the brand’s shop in a big way (like declaring a World-Brand-Day and promoting it on my own nickel) and then if you tell me to stop???
John Hinckley, one of history's most famous fans

Say what?

But I acted out of love, Jodie!

Some fans will do crazy things — literally — to impress others.

You think someone going to all that trouble and expense to promote your product is going to sulk away, lick their wounds and figure out how to play nice if you get all nasty on them?

I'm not going to be ignoredHa! They’re not going to be ignored.

And even if they do nothing, all their fans will rally around them and do something because their fans aren’t your fans and you hurt their hero, you big, nasty, mean old brand, you!

And TADA! You’ll have lost your brand.

And I’m making no judgements about the fan behind World Nutella Day.

Personally, I think it’s great.

And I love all my fans, each and every one.

Please contact NextStage for information regarding presentations and trainings on this and other topics.

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