What if we did away with the brand model?
The branding backlash has been imminent since the early 2000s, perhaps even earlier. When is it going to actually arrive?
Many have cried that the b-word should be abandoned but none have come forward with, not only vaguely suitable alternatives but any alternatives at all.
Brand hasn't failed. It's certainly been misunderstood and overused by the inexpert. And it is far from exhausted. Any discrete identity can be usefully held as a brand. This makes everything in existence a brand. What varies between brands is scale and complexity of value.
What has failed is the language used to handle brands. An alternative brand language is long overdue. Those who harness it will define a new level of brand consulting. The value of which will be self-evident and discussion like these will seem quaint.
How can I appear to write this with confidence? Because all confidence is false. Particularly people who buy into Brand suspect this but do not know why or how. This tempts them to believe that Brand is the culprit.
Subcategories like positioning, design and innovation are unlikely to yield the language necessary to handle the complexities of Brand. These are well known areas with many experts but they are merely tools. Tools which are widely available. So widely available they are fast becoming a commodity. Who isn't a marketer, designer or brand consultant?
What isn't a construct? Try to identify a fact. Facts do not exist independent of context and as a result can be found not to exist at all. The capacity to grasp this is a measure of the language at hand.
The only space left for brand consulting to finally acknowledge and willingly engage is the esoteric. If this offends your pragmatic sensibilities then perhaps more accessibly, the abstract and intangible. Delivered in such a way as to make sense of every aspect of experience, including the intuitive and the mystical. Couched in a new language it should become clear that nothing exists outside Brand.
It's a provocative statement, I admit. A statement I relish making fail. In its failure and to my points above other valuable notions become apparent.
We have various appropriate updates to Democritus. Some are more compelling than others. The most compelling is that he is offering nothing other than an opinion.
It is becoming commonly accepted that there are no uncontested bodies of knowledge, no self-evident truths or ultimate facts. Opinion is all we have to work with. This has profound implications for Brand. Brand is nothing other than opinion. Once we recognise this we can best go about managing opinion and on this basis Brand.
From a brand consulting point of view, this suggests that we should hold the most effective opinions about opinions. In this context it is important to recognise that all opinions are driven by self interest, without exception. Including and particularly my opinion in front of you.
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