Je m’accuse…branding schizophrenic

I stand self-accused (and guilty) of writing about 'ever so slightly better branding' at times in this blog, rather than...

July 29, 2003

I stand self-accused (and guilty) of writing about ‘ever so slightly better branding’ at times in this blog, rather than about a world ‘beyond branding’, which is my genuine intention.

I am engaged in a constant war against an outmoded 20th century branding model that creeps into my writing unless I remain constantly vigilant. I assume this is my super-ego trying to keep me employable. Best of luck to to it.

The truth is, in the beyond branding (BB) world, branding practitioners, as currently conceived, will simply evaporate.

The arcane and archaic art of branding was about stuffing perceived value into ideas and products by aggressively carving out mind-space in the heads of unwitting consumers. It was about positioning, irrespective (and even disrespectful of) the facts.

Beyond Branding, by contrast, is about offering and receiving actual value, by voluntarily sharing life-space.

Branding is about forcing repeatable transactions.

Beyond Branding is about facilitating unique relationships.

I worry when I read some of this blog back that I am actually saying:

Oh, do branding, sure…but just don’t forget people, and try to be transparent and have a cause…oh…and be consistent…and don’t forget the poor people.

Which is fine, but will it change the world? Even slightly? Will it make my children proud? Nope.

Quite the reverse. Actually, this pseudo-branding will simply suck our residual humanity INTO the pernicious world of corporate marketing so our most deeply-held private values can be appropriated and faked by savvy marketeers (like my alterego ‘BrandTim’).

By contrast, ‘BBTim”s aim is the reverse…to extract some drip of humanity from these corporate collectives by urging them to act with humility, deference and insight. To bring them down, literally, to my level. More difficult than it sounds in the face of my own irreconciled schizophrenia!

We are all multiple, facing a multiple world. Inside our own head we can embrace the challenge of stakeholder alignment…the search for self.

World is crazier and more of it than we think,

Incorrigibly plural. I peel and portion

A tangerine and spit the pips and feel

The drunkenness of things being various.”

from ‘Snow’, Louis Macniece

The truth is that this apparent schizophrenia is just a microcosm of the stakeholder management challenge that all organisations face in seeking a higher cause.

My ‘selves’ who are people need to tell the selves who are customers to ask for more (or different…or perhaps even less). The self which is a father must implore the selves who are shareholders to stop a minute and consider what they collude in.

The awful truth is, the debate about branding is like any debate. It’s not between ‘them’ and ‘us’. This is us and us. We make it happen. Both of me.

Let the lunatics into the asylum. It’s our only chance of a sustainable future…

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