The implication, at the extreme, is that marketers should stop trying to tell consumers what the brand is about and instead offer up a blank canvas that consumers can paint their own meanings on. But frankly, this approach just does not work for me. The marketplace is extremely crowded these days, and it is simply stupid to tell people that they should leave their products undefined and let the marketplace do that work. No, marketers have a responsibility to establish a meaning for the brand in advance of presenting it to the consumer. The consumer may appropriate the brand in different ways, may reshape and refine and rework its ultimate meaning, but the essence of the brand is, or should always be, in the hands of the marketer.
This is not to say that there can't be a happy accident, where the marketer has defined the brand one way and the market soars it to popularity along another track entirely. As Wipperfurth demonstrates in Brand Hijack, that can happen. But most of the time, it is the marketers' responsibility to study the marketplace, understand the target audience, and go forward with a brand proposition that speaks to them. Otherwise how can the brand even go to market?