Hugh says

I often wonder where my disaffection came from. What compelled me to once write “Branding Is Dead” etc.

I’ll tell you why.

I dont like branding. I don’t like brand theory.

I like markets. I find them much more interesting.

I find myself resonating even though I’ve written a lot about branding here. More and more, I’m finding most of what gets said in and around the word “branding” just irritates me. I won’t say all talk of branding is wrong or useless, but it seems very prone to generalisation and abstractions. The reality of how individuals make meanings out of symbols and lives is fascinating. The theory, on the whole, is a bit boring.

3 thoughts on “Branding

  1. Graham Hill

    Branding can and should be looked at from two perspectives: the artificial one of the company and the real one of the customer.

    The perspective that most marketing people take is the artificial one. If we communicate at potential customers in this way they will recognise our products, know about them, like them and buy them because they are… . But as I have commented before, this doesn’t work as well as it did in the past; research shows that over 80% of consumers don’t believe they will get what is promised in brand advertising, and 80% will still be disappointed!

    The seconsd perspective is what customers, non-customers and ex-customers really think the brand is. As Tom Asacker says, at the end of day, real brands exists only in the mind of their customers, as a collection of emotions and feelings that are meaningful. But understanding what customers sense, feel and think about a real brand is much tougher than holding a focus-group to test an artificial brand’s packaging. And requires much more customer involvement than artificial branding.

    The future of branding isn’t bigger, faster, better artificial brands, but rather in making real brands that do what they say on the tin, and in making them together with customers. That doesn’t mean that marketers will lose power to the chaos of the market, but it does mean that they will need to become facilitators rather than victorian-values teachers.

  2. Johnnie Moore

    Hi Graham: Thanks for stopping by. And Yes.

    What I’m bored of is the whole notion of branding as something done by a a few smart people to to the rest of us.

    Where Hugh is going, and where I’m tempted to follow, is to avoid the B word altogether because it carries too much luggage from a command-and-control mindset. Plan B is to rehabilitate the word as you suggest, which is worth a try too.

    You say “it does mean that they will need to become facilitators rather than victorian-values teachers” and I agree wholeheartedly. But then I’m biassed!

  3. Michael Wagner

    I understand why one would want to avoid the B word. Most uses of branding are reflective of another B word – “Broadcast” which gave birth to the M word – Mass markets. Underlying all of that is “command and control”, manipulation, deception, “artificial” and a lot of of other troubling words.

    Still, I like to use “branding”. Mainly I suppose because I like to mess with people’s categories. Grin.

    Does that make me a bad person?

    Thanks for enlarging the conversation!


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