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November 09, 2004



I've just started to write my dissertation around the subject the effects redesigning of packaging and branding have on sales and customer loyalty? I'm not sure wether I can purely look at branding in relation to the packaging, or without the whole idea behind the brand it doesn't make any sense? any ideas? and with what your saying about branding dying does it have any effect at all?

Michael Betts

Regarding #6, I think Hugh has just proven his point (and himself an asshole).

Really, his argument is like saying "art is dead." Of course art isn't dead--art was never alive. Art simply exists in our heads in exactly the same way that a "brand" (what people think of when they think of a company or product) exists in our heads. By definition, brand is in the mind of the beholder.

And "branding" is just the way that a whole lot of people get paid to manipulate that thinking. Do you really think that will ever die??

Scott Miller

My comments to each of Hugh's points:

1. The term "Branding" was pretty meaningless when I started in advertising in the early 1990's. Ask six people to define what "Branding" is and you will get seven different answers. The longer I've been in the business, the truer this has become. Perhaps it's time to pull the plug.

This only means that marketing professions are generally sorely mis-educated. This is not news.

2. "Branding" has no point other that to define the brand-metaphor. The actual business is secondary. In the end, it's in the business of changing the landscape in order to make the map more aesthetically pleasing to look at.

Huh? There's too much marketing speak here for me to even understand what he's saying.

3. Branding asks the question "What is it?", when the question really should be "What is it for?"

Actually, branding answers the question: "Why buy me?" It's the most important question in business.

4. "Branding" is backwards looking. It's all about capturing past associations. It's never about what the business could become, but protecting what came before.

Branding is built from history and tradition. That's what makes it powerful in the present and future.

5. "Branding" is all about articulating top-down, hierarchal control of the conversation. "This is what it means." It's EGOlogy, not ECOlogy.

Branding should never try to control the conversation. Branding is about giving people a reason to have a conversation in the first place, by being important in their lives. That's the best you can hope for. People will then honestly discuss the merits and faults of the brand, based on the brand's history.

6. I generally find people who like using the word "Brand" a lot are assholes.

A useless comment.

7. I find the people who disagree with me the most are in the branding business themselves, and have no incentive to agree with me. In fact, quite the opposite.

A useless comment.

8. I think the world is changing. I think branding-as-high-art serves the purpose of a reality that no longer exists.

Are there people who mistakenly think of branding as a high art?!

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