A branding-class expert is something to be … anyone can be an expert, but branding the expertise takes imagination combined with determination. Establish a need, provide a context, add a striking image, a name, and presto, you attract a following of customers. Be like a dog, bury the bone, and bury it well, then dress it up virtually, mark it, package it, and you have a brand, it’s your invention. Don’t deviate; be like the dog, only tolerate your own teeth marks on it. We admire the sheer ingenuity of branding, which has turned into an art form. Take computers – they are memory devices, communication devices, and much more. Apple took a sumptuous bite out of the computing potential by developing an aesthetic language, a shiny package, and a logo with irresistible symbolic power.
Examples of successful branding have helped the growth of a fat goddess that pervades all fields of commerce. Her indulgence irks. There is the ambient kind of branding, like-minded people gathering around new mind tools, new therapies and self-help advice. Creative approaches I’d playfully developed in my work with clients for over two decades are presented as the latest invention, the latest trick revealed. By naming an approach or concept anew and creating a media platform, an idea becomes owned with the shield of a trademark. No free lunch. The trend is relentless. Even common herbs are re-named and patented.
Today, as ever, survival of the fittest means assertiveness, magnetism, influence, and, or material resources. I wouldn’t talk like this if I had a rewarding brand going, would I? While I resist the branding-bug I am free to ask … what will be the consequences? Where will it all lead? Will there come a time when a cooperation so inclined could offer you a tempting reward for a scratch-sample of your skin and patent your DNA? Would our human-rights-act guard against this invasion? Could the race over ownership, patenting and branding spread as far as shaking together a new race in a test-tube?
I am selectively brand-blind. I try to resist slogans, signatures, icons or familiars that aim to burn and mark my memory. It takes alertness, counter-programming. Subliminal stimuli in advertisement were banned, but subliminal messages abound. I prefer to make fresh associations each day. I want to choose my own habits. I want a flexible identity, and space to grow irrationally, no forced order, please. My inner world deserves a room within the social order. I seek no fault, but I make a stand for my inner silence, and my trust in the unknown. Don’t package me, label me or fit me in pre-fabricated boxes. Meet me when and wherever we meet as if it was the first time … like this …
Am I fooling my contradictory self? Surfing virtual networks, I am drawn to a new brand, the no-brand orphans. I’ve met you out there, searching for kinship. You’re my audience. I wrote a story for you, about a heroine who does not want to comply with what is expected of her, knows well what she does not want and attracts more of the same, until she steps through the mirrors that reflect her.
Yet even when we are empowered by what we want, and this is the secret behind the presently fashionable ‘The Secret’ – psyche is not two-dimensional, it has multiple layers, and whether we are aware of this or not, life will pull us into another myth, and we will create another goddess we bow to.
Let me come clear, this is a plug for my book, a story in search of a platform, an attempt at branding 🙂 Established publishers – big brands – may well have a niche for a heroine who starts out not knowing what she wants, a story transgressing genres, it remains to be seen. I haven’t begun querying yet. But if it came to self-publishing, I would need to address my kinship, other branding orphans. Are you out there?
4 responses to “… battling with the branding goddess …”
A very clever and interesting post addressing many truths. I acknowledge that it is a plug for the book but it is more than that. I have often times in the last few years fallen foul of the brand loyalty demon. For instance say that the Acme potato peeler that I had for many years has broken then I will buy another because for sure Acme are the best and look now Acme have sold out to Bragbig and they make a cheap copy and call it the Acme. No more, now I will close my eyes and leap take the special offers if they look good, buy the Pupy Peeler because the shape fits my hand or the colour matches my kitchen and ignore old habits.
I have such a potato peeler, it’s French. I like designs that combine beauty with functionality. Such objects give me pleasure, I become attached and stay loyal to them. Many family brands have been bought up recently, merged, and the original concept was destroyed in the process, lost what I’d call ‘baraka,’ the ‘blessing’ of the original intention. Now I’m thinking about it, it’s the copycat branding I’m on about, and don’t trust.
Yes I never knew you at this point of exposition! I am with you all the way, so it seems to me that the interface between you and your ‘no-brand’ readership ( c’est moi aussi) might be encapsulated by the explicit economy of ‘The writer who holds you to independence- fiercely’ or something like that. Am I selling out? Probably a bit but simply to cut through the noise!
Maybe we should start a movement for a nondefinitive genre 🙂