Building brands has always been the core of successful marketing efforts, and by comparison to what it is now, it used to be simple. Do a bit of market research, make stuff, generate distribution, throw money at advertising, generate volume, make more stuff, advertise more….. a virtuous circle that if you had the deep pockets, was hard to stuff up. This no longer works.
Marketing and branding have become socialised. Consumer electronics is a category among many that has created new categories of products that are heavily influenced by reviews, and comment curation by users, which pushes the boundaries very quickly. Nokia was killed by missing the social phenomena of the smartphone. They had the mobile phone market by the shorts, had every opportunity to see the emerging technology, but failed to harness it along with the social cachet.
The other side of socialised branding, it can be a killer.
This trend is evident everywhere you look in consumer markets. I would contend that brand-building is no longer possible without social being a major factor in the mix. It is also true to observe, as Bob Hoffman continues to point out in his wonderful blog, that very few, if any, brands come to prominence without advertising, despite what the social media promoters would have you believe.
Building your marketing strategies with the reality of socialised marketing and branding being a major factor in the mix is just plain dumb.