.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;} Making Sense: e-Digest of Brand Thinking

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Branding: a Cynic's View

I wish this article, A Walking Dream by David Thompson, wasn't so damn true. Though I have to admit, I've been caught up in that branding babble myself. From personal experience, I can tell you that nobody babbles better than The Coca-Cola Company. (What a coincidence, they're a soda pop company, too.) Here's an excerpt:

"The archetypal prose of the branding guru manages to be both simplistic and
opaque, is relentlessly optimistic, and littered with tendentious assertions. In
keeping with branding’s preoccupation with facile slogans and imposing surfaces,
intellectual clarity is habitually conflated with portentous incoherence. The
success of this semantic manoeuvre suggests that many corporate clients are
unable to distinguish between the two. Apparently, the more difficult a maxim is
to comprehend, the more meaningful it is deemed to be. (Aquaveta, ‘sub-branded’
as ‘nutrient enhanced water’ was announced thus: ‘A refreshingly new and
innovative functional near-water product for Cadbury Schweppes with the
fashion-conscious female in mind.’)"

Will companies ever stop talking to themselves?

Oh so true! Oops! That's a beer strap isn't it! You'll be glad to know that this Emperor's new clothes type of branding-bollocks is rampant in the UK too! A gov department over here paid an ad agency upwards of £5M to come up with a brand for a state benefits package and when the company came up with: 'One' (Inspirational - not!) they paid the money and then scraped it three months later coz everyone just laughed! Shame really coz it means that when a company is faced with a choice between a business who will give them no-nonsense copy or branding with a focus on their business goals etc or branding bollocks they don't want to appear as though they can't understand the concept...! Oh well!
Having spent 7 years at Coca-Cola, I can attest to the high quotient of bullshit.
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