The quote in this post title is not from some Social Media Expert, or branding consultant. It’s from Katie Bayne, Coca-Cola North America’s Chief Marketing Officer, and it’s from a new Microsoft ad:
Can you imagine the CMO of Coca-Cola, say 30 years ago, making that statement? How about the CMO from 10 years ago? Five?
It’s a great quote and an interesting new campaign from Microsoft. If you believe, as Ms. Bayne believes, that the brand belongs to the consumers, then your job as a marketer changes dramatically. Is getting endcap space in the super market really your top priority? Is deciding if the offer in your FSI needs to be a $1 off or a buy two, get one free, really a critical decision?
Or is understanding that your consumers want to drop Mentos in your 2 liter bottles and videotape the results (and post them on YouTube) the most important thing you can know? With the change in the relationship between brand and consumer comes a change in the skills needed in the C-Suite.
UPDATE 1/20/09: Rob Walker of Murketing/Buying In/Consumed fame sends this along:
“The reality is that the American consumer owns Coca-Cola.” — Robert Goizueta, 1988
Curse you Walker, with your ‘facts’ and your ‘research’. Actually, thank you for passing that along. Certainly others before Bayne understood the emerging consumer-brand dynamic.