The answer to the title of this post might sound easy and obvious for many people: the owner is my company. It is an easy question because a brand can be registered, legislations protect this owner and there are international organizations that look after the interest of the owners of the brand, such as the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). However even though in theory this is one of the company’s assets, it is a huge mistake to think we own it.
One of the obvious reasons is that with Internet it is impossible to have a complete control of it. Anyone can take the brand logo and also similar domains (even though mechanisms exist that will help us regain control over them with WIPO) and take advantage of the name and status of it, with different purposes. Many times it can be an unhappy customer that wants to be listened but in other cases we can be talking about unfair competition or even impersonation in order to commit frauds.
However forgetting the mentioned cases that can be serious, in this post I want to talk about other subject. When we have a company that owns a brand, this acquires a personality over time. This personality depends mostly on our work in order to transfer what we want it to transmit to the world. Therefore some characteristics – that should be positive ones- are imprinted to the brand and if we do correctly our work the consumer perceives it in that way. For example if we have an online store and we send the products to our clients two days after we promise they will receive them, this will be a negative characteristic that will be imprinted to the brand.
As I just wrote, the actions of our company will imprint characteristics to the brand, but it starts to be owned by our clients. The reason is that when they create a positive link with it, consciously or unconsciously they will react to changes. Simple changes such as renovating the logo’s font can affect in a negative way our brand if this font doesn’t relate with what the clients perceive about it and want it to be. This kind of reactions might make us evaluate the changes we have made.
All that I have just explained makes me answer the question of this post in this way: our customers own the brand. They are the ones who identify themselves with it and decide which changes do they accept and which changes they won’t. Trying to impose a change in our brand is a mistake that can be costly.
Image taken From Flickr.com