What is brand? And is this getting boring?

So the whole is-branding-dead debate drones on. I feel torn between a part of me that has some strong opinions… and another part that has a a rather cruder response: one of boredom. And I wonder if some of my readers are getting bored too? (Does that sound too proprietary? Well even Neasden FC has its Sid and Doris Bonkers.) Do let me know.

Anyway, the part of me that won’t let go of the bone enjoyed Evelyn’s latest typically rich, postings. One key idea which I agree with is this:

I’m not developing a brand, I’m developing my Self. The clearer I am about who I am, the more that’s reflected clearly. And that’s where I focus. What you think you see as quote branding unquote is simply a side-effect.

And but of course. Yes, there’s a parallel to companies.

I posted a comment suggesting that this idea of branding challenges a lot of the assumptions people make about “how to” brand. And if I think of the few brands that stand-out for me, they tend to be ones that have opinions of their own that are not a slavish response to consumer demand, nor created by expert consultants in an expensive navel-contemplation exercise. It’s like they’re not actually trying to be a brand at all.

I remember working with an agency trying to “rebrand” investment trusts. They created a pretty logo and announced that they would next “fill it with meaning” as if it were some empty vessel over which they had complete command. Of course by trying to do this work for the consumer they created almost the distilled essence of blandness and pretty much killed off conversation.

I might add that to create a conversation you might need an opinion and an argument as well as feeling. It isn’t just emotion, as some might say. There is actually a potent role for reason too.

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