Brand Buzz: Hands Off My Brand
A Canadian couple recently took to the Internet to help crowdsource the name their baby. Don’t believe us? Check out NameMyDaughter.com where you’ll find submissions like Zelda, Megatron, Streetlamp, and the highest-ranking name, Cthulhu, which has amassed 101,553 votes and counting. In fact, the current winning name for the unborn child who is expected to enter with world on April 2, 2014 is Cthulhu All-Spark McLaughlin.
Does this sound absurd to you? It should. Why would anyone put such a personal duty in the hands of the public like that? I mean, would you throw you’re baby’s name to a democratic vote? The same principle applies to crowdsourcing a brand.
Online polling, fundraising, and even news reporting are being achieved through the use of social media and the web. The newest frontier in crowdsourcing is branding, by allowing anyone to use your brand in whatever way he or she sees fit — and as far as we’re concerned, it’s the worst strategy imaginable.
While crowdsourcing might be good for financing a new product (KickStarter) or gauging interest in a new invention (Quirky), it doesn’t work well for branding. That’s because brands require consistency; with one person, or one agency or firm, who is responsible for creating positive customer perceptions.
A brand is often the personality of a company or product’s founders, employees, or customers. Audience considerations, business objectives, and shareholder value all must be taken into account when developing a brand. Crowdsourcing often dilutes the perception of the brand — if everyone has the ability to communicate their own version of the company, product, or organization brand, then its story will lose meaning and relevance. In this case, the result is that nobody can tell what the company stands for. This is much like design by committee — in the end, everyone is happy to have their say, but no one likes the results.