Well, according to Alex Wipperfurth, you should just roll with it. I just finished Alex's book Brand Hijack: Marketing Without Marketing. It's a great marketing book because Alex gives lots of examples, not just empty platitudes. The main point is that your brand belongs to the market, not to you. There has been plenty of debate over this in the blogosphere, but Alex makes a great case for his point of view.
There are lots of rules and practical guidelines to help you when your brand gets hijacked. A few of my favorites:
– Let the market hijack your brand.
– Co-create your brand by collaborating with your consumers.
– Be flexible. Carefully plan every step, but be totally open to having the story rewritten along the way.
– Resist the paranoid urge for consistency. Embrace the value of being surprising and imperfect.
If you work in marketing, or marketing is the biggest challenge for your company, I would highly recommend this book. It's worth the price just for the case studies on Red Bull, Blair Witch Project, and Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer. I'll end this with my favorite quote from the book: "too often we try to borrow authenticity rather than earn it." And that's why consumers see right through most marketing.