Just got the latest Forward update from Youthography (Toronto-based young consumer market research firm). Interesting bit about Canadian youth and how important they consider brands (click for larger version):
Here’s my favourite quote …
Though still an important consumer cue, brands are not the juggernauts they used to be. Like the demystification of celebrity, brands are more openly understood by young adults as illusory and fabricated.
Particularly since consumers are now helping to shape brand perceptions – another instance of consumers flexing their control muscles. Forward goes on to cite two example of "consumer-sourced" brands: Nvohk Clothing and SellaBand. I would argue that even though these crowdsourcing examples are good ones, a consumer-group doesn’t have to invest $$ to own the brand. Consumers own the brand by the actions they take, the "unauthorized" collateral they create (e.g. on YouTube, ePionions or AdHack) and the response they have to a brand’s actions.