Brands = Link
It’s not just individual customers who use these platforms. Other organisations do too, and brands increasingly link organisations together. The corporation of the new century is more like a constellation, and brand is becoming the link, the multiplier. Amazon may seem like a bookselling corporation, but actually it’s a constellation of retailers of electronics, homewares, toys and more – plus the wider constellation of people who review and recommend. Creative people increasingly work in consortia, forming communities through conferences like TED or websites like worldchanging.com. Cities like New York are creating a city brand to connect and multiply the impact of the myriad of agencies who promote the city. Fairtrade is a German charity whose brand is a multiplier for 600 producer companies. Companies from Gap to American Express have created new products for (RED): a percentage of profits goes to treat AIDS/HIV in Africa. The London 2012 brand embraces sponsor and partner organisations. This new world of branding isn’t about self-contained citadels, or force-fields that repel other brands. Brands like (RED) embrace the organisations they work with. As brands become less the property of an organisation and more the banner of a movement, ownership will become even looser. Logos will be things other organisations, and individuals, can borrow and adapt.