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Open Brand, by Mooney and Rollins

Open Brand: When Push Comes to Pull in a Web-Made World lays out the realities of how the web has changed the way brands are perceived. This has come about because individual consumers have a tremendous influence on how other consumers view products and organizations.

It is interesting that our notion of "brand" has expanded as the web has become more influential. At one time it was thought of primarily as some trademarked label on a cereal box. Now it is applied in a broader sense, not just as a company logo, but as a whole set of perceptions that surround a company, a product, or even an idea. This has come about largely due to the fact that so many more people are interested in marketing. When anyone can publish on the web at little or no expense, and anyone can make money by putting ads on their websites, anyone and everyone soon joins in the marketing game, whether they are promoting bubble gum or world peace.

All these websites, and the advent of the so-called Web2.0 have also made it much easier for consumers to get their own word out. At one time, someone who was not happy with their new widget had little recourse if the company would not respond to their complaints. Now the unhappy customer can easily trumpet his or her complaints to the wide world, and be heard. But the customer influence now reaches beyond this simplistic situation. Now the customer is writing reviews on Amazon, writing in their own blogs or on bulletin boards, creating Squidoo pages or making videos about their notions. Kelly Mooney and Nita Rollins in "The Open Brand" explain how all this came about and how to leverage it in order to enhance the profitability and perception of individual brands.

They point out that the key to doing this is to be "OPEN". OPEN is actually and acronym for On-Demand, Personal, Engaging, and Networked. This means that the savvy marketer must have information available 24/7 to the consumer (easily done on the web). He or she must tailor the information, product or brand to each individual. The interaction between the marketing operation and the consumer must be "engaging" even entertaining. The brand must be networked, allowing information to flow both ways, from the brand to the consumer and from the consumer to the brand. The concept of openness means that the brand must be malleable, and be able to change over time and to become what people want it to be.

How is all this to be done? Well, "The Open Brand" gives examples and goes into some details. The layout of the book is a lot like a website might be constructed. Its a quick read at 198 pages, and crammed with useful, insightful information.

The Open Brand: When Push Comes to Pull in a Web-Made World is available at Amazon.

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