Brands in use are brands that talk
All marketing communiques are aimed at building positive attitudes within consumers toward the communicated brand. Initially its perceptions that consumers form when exposed to communiques, which then gives way to learning, finally culminating in brand attitudes.
The most potent of stimuli (communique) is the when the brand's in use (by consumers) and is visible to other consumers. This can either generate a host of goodwill or can even sound the death knell to a brand. Take the Tata Indica for example. Seeing it on roads, being driven as a cab can become its undoing, at least with families that are looking at buying a car. Who would want to own a car that's driven around as a taxi? Especially, when on the roads, every other cab seems to be an Indica.
Brands in action are stimuli that marketers have no control on. Because its now the property of consumers who own it. Marketers must hope and pray that in the hands of those consumers their brand speaks in manner that gets other potential consumers flocking to it, in droves.
For the Tata Indica, I for one, don't see that happening. At least till the time its driven as a cab.