Rethinking Brand Thinking

The Emperors New Clothes

A Backlash Against Branding?

Alan Mitchell

It is quite some paradox. Never has the B word branding been bandied about so much. Yet never, it seems, has it attracted so much flack. Brands are now Big Business not only in their consumer goods heartlands but also in the worlds of politics, art, academia and the media. Anybody who wants to be anybody wants to build their own brand. Nation states, regions and towns, individuals and institutions, political parties and pressure groups, football clubs, even schools and universities are adopting the tools and techniques of branding. Observes David Panos, a cultural analyst at Year Zero, branding is becoming the dominant metaphor, an object of obsession. Yet, he adds, within many corporations, there is also a situation of extreme panic.