Whose brand is it anyway? And can you pick its friends?

Dorothy Fitch

You can pick your brands and you can pick your friends. But if you're a marketer; can you pick your brand's friends? Should you even try? As a brand manager, your first instinct may be to protect your brand from negative influences, but if you've endowed it with a solid set of values and associations, Dorothy Fitch's advice is to just ‘let go'

It'S Every parent's worst nightmare that a child should fall in with a bad crowd. Should the ‘parents’ of brands – the creators, managers and marketers – share this worry? Can a brand be damaged by the company it keeps?

Conversely, can keeping good company enhance a brand's reputation? If a brand is embraced by a group that is younger, hipper, or richer than its original target, is the status of that brand improved?

If the answer to any or all of these questions is yes, one key question remains: should marketers attempt to intervene in brands’ relationships with consumers to maximise benefits and minimise ill effects? Is it even possible for them to do this effectively without doing more harm than good in the process?