The Emperors New Clothes
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.