What’s the #1 rule of branding?

What’s the #1 rule of branding that has to be top of mind at all times?

The customer owns it!

The most important rule of branding is to recognize that the customer ultimately owns the brand, not us. It has always been that way, but social media has just been providing irrefutable proof over the past decade.

The customer’s perception of the brand is what matters most. It is the only thing that matters.

With that in mind, doesn’t it make sense to be listening to them all the time?

“Think simple. Think like a customer and your brand will become more successful.” – Al Ries and Laura Ries, The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding