Thursday, February 3, 2011

Branding: The Love of Old Stuff vs. New


 There are millions of experts on branding.  Just ask anybody who as ever worked in the advertising or web business.  Its something we all take for granted but few of us can really define.  On the other hand their are academics, historians and thinkers constantly writing volumes about brand and its meanings and implications.  I think about branding all the time now that I am trying to sell my leather jackets.  Mostly I frown on modern products and advertising so this dilemma of brand and meaning tasks me!

So lets just say brand is the sum of all the parts
 between the cost to make a product, and the existent product...and its sale price.  Lets say the brand is all the parts in the middle, the thoughts, experiences, ideas, concepts built into and around the product or company, the relationship between you and it...so the "brand experience".  Now my disdain for advertising comes from the roots of product development.  Back in the day if you made a buggy and your neighbour  made a buggy there were likely few differences in the product and the price.  Branding and advertising generates the gap that justifies a consumer paying more for something...and often that mysterious ether being paid for is just


vapour.  I used to say advertising and branding is selling what is not there...and that goes against my grain.

What I love about old brands...branding and logos is the sense of purpose for which they relate the added value.  When you look at old brands and vintage brands while they often add esoteric value, and a brand experience that may be a little "over the top" there is a simple truth tobranding that conveys a pride in the quality of the product.  While many companies today produce brands that appear far more authentic and interesting then the actual product...in the past the product came first and the branding came after.  Look at the simplicity of Golden Fleece and the brand.....a beautiful stunning jacket...well made

  lasting over a hundred years, while at the same time imbuing the mythic protective fleece garment of the gods, impenetrable!  Maybe the owners were Greek, maybe they just enjoyed the heroic adventures of the great heros, but clearly the jackets were exemplary and the branding compliments the production rather then re inventing the value. 

I guess what I am saying is the line between branding and authenticity is very thin...and seems to me crossed constantly in search of high profits from offshore production, and cheaper production techniques.