Tuesday, January 1, 2008

"They've just re-branded themselves."

This has always galled me. When the advertising trade press announces that a company or a person has re-branded itself.

A new set of colors. A re-designed logo. Switching from dark pants-suits to pastels.

A brand is the soul of a company. Its pith and core. Its essence.

Fixing Adolph's hair, shaving his moustache, and rounding the edges of the swastika does not change the Nazi brand. Any more than Chrysler's new logo changes their fifty-year legacy of building really, really unreliable cars. Or Delta Air Lines running its type on an upward slant will change their on-time performance or their ability to actually deliver your baggage.

Branding is not cosmetic. It is not a coat of paint. It is intrinsic.

Now, a little Shakespeare:

'Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What's Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;

So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call'd,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
And for that name which is no part of thee
Take all myself.

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