On March 17, 2015, I presented in Uppsala, Sweden, at the RelationsDagen 2015 Conference on the topic of how brands, regions and tourist destinations can harness the crowd, as well as third party brand ambassadors, in building broader brand reputation.
Speaking to a diverse audience of national and regional politicians, destination marketers and CEOs of mid-size and large Swedish companies at Relations (pronounced “rel-a-coon”), I began very broadly attempting to set the tone that all organizations no longer control their brands – the audiences they ultimately wish to reach now do. Whether you perceive McDonald’s as a haven for overweight children, think of the ebola virus when discussing Africa, or have visions of beautiful blondes and ABBA when preparing for a Swedish journey – those opinions matter today unlike ever before.
But all is not lost. Losing control has opportunities and harnessing those audiences and their perceptions to help carry messages — engaging them to serve as brand ambassadors — is perhaps the most powerful means of marketing and building brand reputation today.