Alternative marketing thinking


Brand = Theme

As brands become platforms and links, they get used and abused. People want to make them their own – which means they may no longer be the same everywhere. Brand becomes not one tune, but a theme with variations. As ideologies compete, as cultures become more multi, organisations are getting much more sensitive to context, to localness. Even Starbucks – the great exponent of a repeated formula – now believes in ‘identity, not identical’. The BBC has moved from uniformity to create distinctive channel brands. Mandarin Oriental thinks of its hotels as a family, not a chain, so that San Francisco looks and feels different from London and Hong Kong, though there’s a unifying oriental sensibility. Brazilian telecoms company Oi has different ways of being with ‘extreme’, ‘mass’ and ‘business’ customers. The London cultural venue Southbank Centre has a new logo that has an infinite number of variations. The new brands have many ways of doing things, many ways of speaking. They experiment and change over time. The brand is not a perfect blueprint, and brand creators are less architects and more inventors, learning by adapting. What unites the organisation (or constellation) isn’t the surface logo but the underlying idea. From the Wolf Ollins site.


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