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Brands are under attack by consumers. “The problem is not the medium. The problem is the message, and the fact that it is not trusted, not wanted, and not needed,” says Eric Clemons of the Wharton School (Clemons, 2009). Personal authority over the terms of the marketing engagement means brands that were once defined and manipulated by marketers are now co-created by producers and consumers (Brown, 2003).
Brands hold multiple meanings because brands are created by multiple people. There are many models that describe brand meaning. These include: the reflection of consumer attitudes through brand image and personality (Blackston, 1993); consumer self-expression resulting from use or ownership of goods and services that are unique (Lewis, 2001); and the amalgamation of the product or service and its ownership, consumer experience, and identity construction (Leigh, 2006).
Increasingly, the prevailing theory is that brand meaning depends on the relationship between the consumer’s sense of self and his or her experience interacting with a brand. The more a brand performs and aligns in a manner that is consistent with a salient consumer identity, the more meaning the consumer ascribes to the brand and the more authentic the experience becomes (Reed, 2004) (Gilmore, 2009).
This paper presents a new customer experience management framework built on the foundation of co-creation that will help organizations better understand the key elements of the brand experience, and how the process of alignment leads to the creation of brand authenticity and sustainable growth.
Read the entire whitepaper here.