The Dynamics of Brand Ownership: How Brands and Customers Co-Create Value

This post written by Elevation’s Creative Strategy Director, Brett Rakestraw, was originally published on Brandingmag.

The concept of brand started simply enough as a way to differentiate one product from another, a mark to identify the maker. By the late 19th century, laws were established in many countries to legally protect the use of branded marks, including logos, names and slogans. But, as product choice exploded through the industrial revolution, logos became more about differentiation than identification. As product quality began to even out with modern manufacturing, a familiar product logo was no longer enough to win over consumers in competitive markets.

So, in the 1950’s brand marketing was born. Brands began projecting themselves as a collection of ideals and promises that aligned with the consumers they were courting. Consumers began to identify themselves more and more by the brands they were loyal to. In this way, brand loyalty became a two way street where customers were willing to stick with and support a brand as long as the brand kept in line with the ideals of those customers.

Today, many brands are more recognizable by the type of customers they have than by the products they sell. Take the iconic motorcycle brand Harley Davidson, you can likely picture a typical Harley owner more easily than you can picture any particular Harley Davidson model, or how it compares to other motorcycles in the market. If you don’t picture yourself to be one of these people, you probably won’t buy a Harley regardless of the quality or price.

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