Why Losing Control Of Your Brand Isn’t Bad

What is the true test of success for an entertainment brand? Is it an academic study into the brand equity? Is it how well it stands out against the other competitors in your industry? Is it the extent to which it embodies your brand qualities? Don’t get me wrong these are all important components, but they aren’t the true test of success. The true test of success comes from losing control.

REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

This idea goes against every marketing theory in marketing education. We are all taught that we must keep tight reins on a brand. Ensure that every iteration of the visual representation matches the brand philosophy and doesn’t compromise the integrity of the mark. But if you have full control over a brand then is it really a success?

A successful brand has great meaning to an audience. To the extent where they want to adopt the brand and use it in its own way because it has so much resonance. Parodies, social commentaries and artistic interpretations don’t happen to the less popular brands.

Think about the most resonant theatre brands. Theatre brands which come top of mind to the average person in the street. The Phantom of the Opera, The Sound of Music, The Wizard of Oz, Les Miserablés and the divisive Cats. If you walked up to a random person in the street, someone who didn’t have much involvement with the theatre, chances are they would mention at least one of these brands if they were asked to name the first musicals that came to their head. Why? Because these brands have such resonance that they have broken the confines of the theatre audience.

Take Les Miserablés for example. Internationally renowned street artist Banksy has drawn inspiration from the iconic musical poster this week to make a social commentary about the alleged tear gas used on refugees trapped in Calais’ ‘Jungle’ camp. Depicting Cosette in front of the ripped French flag in tears as she is being gassed shows the success of this Les Miserablés brand. It has conquered the theatre world, but it has also conquered the rest of the world with imagery that resonates with the average person in the street.

Each of these five theatre brands have been used for an endless list of parodies, social commentaries and artistic inspiration. And it is a testament to their success. These brands have so much resonance that they are continuously stolen by others for comic or political significance and in return their use in these mediums only furthers their reach to new audiences.

Sometimes you have to let go if you want to see your brand fly. After all, they do say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery – and the more imitators you have, the more successful your brand has become!