asitreallyhappened# 4: The Past, the present and future of branding.

asitreallyhappened# 4: The Past, the present and future of branding.

The Past, the present and future of branding

Basic knowledge people from the sector should know while building their brands. Discover here what Robert Jones says about it.

Branding. A very Short Story.

Robert Jones. Oxford University Press, 2017.

Pp 136. £7.00. ISBN 978 – 0 – 19 – 874991 – 2

Could it be possible to think the daily life without any reference to the brand we consume every day? Somehow Robert Jones has an answer which is mostly negative. Every decision we make while choosing what to wear becmarketing brand brandingause of the company’s Christmas party or what device to buy, brands impact on our “point references”. On his book “Branding: A very short story” is a kind of resumé from which is possible to approach what branding and brand are. So next lines will be a short exposition about what readers will find in the book in case the main question is what the book is all about.

The author is a strategist who offers workshops and consultancies. He has worked for many big firms in different industries. His book, “Branding…”, is an expression of all his years working for them, plus some more strong experience interpreting the evidences from market researches. As a good practitioner, every sentence is supported by good evidence in the real life: brands all we already know. So exemplification would be a key point to make clear what he is trying to communicate.

The book is a compilation of basic knowledge we should bear in mind to understand the “branding world”. In eight simple chapters, Jones exposes the explicit and implicit characteristics which make a brand part of our daily lives. In the first chapters, he tries set off the thesis that brand is more a simple idea, in fact it is bigger than that. It is images, colours, letters, package which connect us to do thing but think one or another direction. Brands like Coke – Cola or Disneyland are “over there” not just because they want us to buy them, but to engage with throughout meanings which indirectly guide our actions and point of view to judge the world. Moreover, Jones explains to us in simple sentences how brands have helped and still do to build identities and affinity, when he says: “They use brands  to help construct their identity, their sense of who they are.” (p. 12).

In the following pages, Jones goes into a deeper idea about what brand is. Across the chapter, Jones gives a group of clues which helps the readers to understand then what he means for “brand”: a bigger idea? Colours, meanings, signs, letters, package, strategies? For him, brand is more deeper than those elements, in fact it is a set of ideas, which says and does something, but recognizable by a remarkable style, in other words what a company ‘stand for’. Another great distinction makes the chapter valuable, that is the difference between “brand” and “branding”. While brand is what a company stands for, branding is the technique through the company stands for. While brand is the result, branding is the method.

From this concept, Jones arrives to the history of branding. It is how companies and smart business people have got into people’s minds to stand for products or/and services. Branding is not a modern phenomenon. It was born since the humans have created distinctive symbols, such as egyptian and romans with their symbols to identify dynasties or status into a tribe. From those techniques, the nineteenth century was the period in which the boom of production serves itself through branding, in terms of generating meanings related to a product or services. What we have now is a sophisticated developments in the technique and definition: brand is not a result to show outside of the four walls of the office, but something to be venerate into the organisation itself. Brand and employees have a parallelism if a business want to stand for, be remarkable and of course, unforgettable.

From the past, Jones stops into the present of the brand, highlighting how it works. How is it possible that people can recognise the brand and the ideas and feelings it express? A neurological explanation is given by the author. Looking at how the brain works to remember, feel and associate ideas and images is directly given to the readers in simple words, so as if it would be a sort of dialogue between readers and authors, it is possible to murmur: “Ok, now I understand.” However, the dialogue becomes complex when Jones does not have a proper answer to the fact that modern researchers have not discovered yet the very motivations for which people compulsively buy things, even if the brand is powerful and the branding is extremely successful. From Eric From, Jean Baudrillard to other modern psychologists – still alive – would say: it is the postmodernist human loneliness fault.

The rest of the chapters are a revision about the present of the brandings nowadays. How brands are built in more structured organisations, how art is helping on further developments, and how organisations tries to get the best experts for branding matters in this competitive world where the production of meanings and remarkable signs accelerate the demand and the offer. So Jones discusses the ethics behind the brand and the branding which is widely arguable as per the explosion of what we mean and think about ethics.

Finally, Jones concludes the book going into the future of branding: Will it be alive after all? The end appears as a matter of reassurance for marketers: “Branding, in other words, will live on”.

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