Is branding dead?

Hugh Macleod has been saying that Branding is Dead and Doc Searls agrees. Robert Scoble disagrees.

Well it all depends on what you mean by branding, and it means different things to different people. I think what’s starting to fade is the idea of branding as something that is done by the magic wands of expert marketing guys, admen and brand consultants. These guys all have their role, but “brands” are just bits of shorthand we all get to use to describe ideas. Ideas we have about companies, churches, politicians blah blah blah.

Anytime any of us engage with, spit on, rage against or purport to fall in love with, a brand, we’re doing a bit of “branding”. If our own voice has credibility and bandwidth, we might have more influence on other people’s thoughts about the brand. If we talk hot air, we probably don’t.

A lot of smart-alec advertising and fancy logo designs may have been quite powerful in the past. I think they’re becoming less powerful now. When brand experts issue pronouncements like “Kelloggs is synonymous with health and vitality” they may think they’re doing some big branding. My hunch is that, lacking credibility, they’re not doing as much as they think.

6 thoughts on “Is branding dead?

  1. Marketing Playbook

    Bits, Books, Blogs and Brands – Living Beings, Not Dead Objects

    Recently, I talked to two bloggers I respect a ton (Scoble and MacLeod) about our book. Sure it was flattering that they both liked the book but what was really interesting was that these seperate conversations both launched into parallel,…

  2. hugh macleod

    Totally agree with you Johnnie…perhaps everyone’s actually in violent agreement but it’s the term “brand” that’s too swishy. Scoble is himself now a brand; probably so most A-listers. Tom Peters commands $65K for an hour speech while many consultants and authors couldn’t give away their speeches. Branding is dead? Don’t think so. Perhaps megaphone-broadcast branding is dead.


    “Swishy” is a good word to describe it. “Mooshy” works, too.

    “Brand” or “Branding” sort of reminds me of The Elves. Now the Ring has already been cast in the Crack of Doom, they don’t really have much else to do except mosey along to the Grey Havens…

    Evelyn, some of us B-Listers could be considered “Brands”, too 😉

  3. Broadband and Me

    Is branding dead?

    Is branding dead? Hugh Macleod has been saying that Branding is Dead, and Doc Searls agrees. Robert Scoble disagrees. Well, it all depends on what you mean by branding, and it means different things to different people. . .. “brands”…

  4. "Hello_World"

    Dawn of the dead (brand)

    “Branding is dead” blah blah, what a load of wank! It’s no secret, I’m not a fan of most advertising practices, However to say that branding is dead is ignorant “statementism” (it’s the concept of making a sensational statement

  5. Tom Asacker

    I with you all. Except perhaps Hugh. I can’t seem to follow his whimsical, metaphorical blogging.

    But Evelyn, please don


    Wired’s editorial poo-poo

    No other than my beloved Wired Magazine proclaims the close demise of brands and branding in their ?The Decline of Brands? article. Whoa! I won?t even try an autopsy on the article, the facts and figures of every research demolish it better than I co…


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