The role of brands

These are my very brief thoughts in relation to the role of brands, whether the power of brands is waning and what it means for the industry as a whole…

It used to be relatively simple to know what the role of a brand was. Brands were simply products and services available for sale. But society has evolved at tremendous pace pace in the last century and brands have evolved with them. Now, it feels like everything is a brand. Rightly or wrongly, brands now dictate what we think of people and how we think of ourselves.

So, is the power of the big brand waning?

Well, the above would suggest not. Unprecedented technological advancement has meant that in the present day, brands are able to be more flexible and multi faceted than ever before. Brands can offer different meanings to different people doing different things at different times. This flexibility creates greater relevance to the visions and ideologies that consumers identify with and conform to.  

So, with greater opportunities to be relevant comes greater power?

Well, yes it does. However, the opportunity to become multi-dimensional has a flip side. With these technological advancements, the consumer has also been offered the opportunityto participate and interact rather than simply consume messaging. As such, brands are no longer a static brand value but a constantly morphing discourse of opinion. Some belong to the brand, but more belong to individuals who now have the power to make and break them.

If the product and the vision stacks up, then brands are more powerful than ever. If brand credentials don’t stack up though, then no amount of media purchasing and snappy slogans will rescue them from public opinion

So, what does this mean for our profession? Well, it means it’s harder to cut-through than ever before. It means we can’t bullshit consumers. It means we need to understand a plethora of channels that a few years we didn’t even know existed.

It also means more channels than ever before to communicate in. More opportunities to be bold and innovative. More opportunities to make a difference to greater numbers of people than ever before.  It means there’s never been a more exciting time to be working in the communications industry.

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