The brand – the collection of sentiments, concepts, ideas, myths, whatever, surrounding your product or commercial offering – is beholden to the needs, desires and tastes of consumers. Your brand had better be able to adjust or it becomes irrelevant. What your target consumers consider a relevant message is even more shifty and unstable than what they consider a relevant product.
The brands are interactive in the sense that the web in general, and blogs in particular, are making the feedback loop between consumers and marketers incredibly tight. But the only thing new about the situation is its immediacy; the loop has shrunk from a traffic circle to a wedding ring. The “brand stewardship” model of marketing, in which the brand is dictated to the consumer and only grudgingly changes course under threat of absolute ruin, has always been wrong-headed. You can’t completely and totally manage, control and broadcast your brand or its perception. Immediate feedback and reactionary blogging have only amplified what has always been the case. Brands are creatures of relevance and relevance is incredibly unstable. If a brand can’t intelligently react to maintain relevance (in a way consistent with its history) then it will fail.
It’s our job to look ahead, determining relevance and the appropriate means of communication for our clients. But first we must understand that it’s interaction, not broadcast.