There's a quote I just love comes from an academic at the University of Ulster (Stephen Brown): "Marketers know about consumers, consumers know about marketers, marketers know consumers know about marketers, and consumers know marketers know consumers know about marketers."
It's that fun-house mirror of marketing that is terrifically interesting. We're all in the game and we're ready to game the system. In this model, the only brands that thrive are not those that rely on "interruption" marketing — i.e., in order to watch this television program, you have to watch my 30-second message — but those that are built intentionally by the personal involvement of users, think Google.
It's a fascinating mind-set. How does a brand grow. I'm not talking just creating buzz. We all know there are "buzz" agencies out there they force feed the conversation. No. I'm talking about the genuine article. Brands and products that we make our own and make them better as we go. Ipod. Starbucks. Who else? Any brands that you treasure that leap across the threshold of cynicism?