Thursday, September 13, 2007

Branding devices.

One reason I have such disdain for Telco advertising in general and in AT&T's in particular is that I think they use the words "brand" and "branding" all wrong. AT&T calls their stylized globe, their orange color and their logo "branding" or even their "brand." No. What those things are are "branding devices."

Branding and brands are based on how companies act and perform--how they treat you. Branding devices like the Macintosh Apple or the Nike swoosh are good because they are devices that help consumers recall the aspects of brands they admire. The Verizon check-mark rune does nothing more than remind us of how much we hate Verizon. Likewise the swastika forces me to recall a brand (the Nazis) I hate. However, if I were a Hindu, the same swastika might help me recall the god I love.

In short, branding devices are only as good as the brands they recall. They are mnemonic and have no inherent value. The tooth shown here can be a branding device for a dentist. If, however, the dentist displaying this sign has dirty hands and uses rusty pliers, this sign won't drive business his way. His brand sucks. A branding device won't help him.


tore's tour said...

in this post, and the one before this one, on at&t, you put the finger on something truly intriguing.
In the not so small bubble of marketing and advertising we have developed a completely Orwellian universe in which we use coded language and
thrive on lies. We interpret responses from "consumers" to suit us the way we want. We wear mirrored glasses not able to see the outside world.
no wonder we rarely see any honest work nowadays.

dawife said...

Agreed that work today is seldom honest.

For every Nike swoosh, which does work and stand for "Just do it" there are tons of letter logos or banal sayings that really don't do it.