Article | Business Horizons | May–June 2011

The Uninvited Brand

by Susan Fournier and Jill Avery


Brands rushed into social media, viewing social networks, video sharing, online communities, and microblogging sites as the panacea to diminishing returns for traditional brand building routes. But, as more branding activity moves to the web, marketers are confronted with the stark realization that social media was made for people, not for brands. In this paper, we explore the emergent cultural landscape of open source branding, and identify marketing strategies directed at the hunt for consumer engagement on the people's web. These strategies present a paradox, for to gain coveted resonance, the brand must relinquish control. We discuss how web-based power struggles between marketer and consumer brand authors challenge accepted branding truths and paradigms: where short-term brands can trump long-term icons, where marketing looks more like public relations, where brand building gives way to brand protection, and brand value is driven by risk, not returns.

Keywords: marketing; Brands; brand building; brand management; brands and branding; social media; digital marketing; Advertising Campaigns; Brands and Branding; Marketing Communications; Marketing Strategy; Internet; Advertising Industry; Consumer Products Industry;


Fournier, Susan, and Jill Avery. "The Uninvited Brand." Business Horizons 54, no. 3 (May–June 2011): 193–207.