By JONATHAN FINE
Many people these days have brand fatigue and instinctively recoil from the whole concept of a brand. It’s a predictable result of over exposure: with all the thousands of brands clamouring for our attention from the minute we wake up to the radio or TV to the ads on Facebook or Instagram as we check our phones one last time before bed, it’s all too much.
It’s tempting sometimes to assume we’d be better off in a world without brands, but actually they are extremely helpful to us as individuals and as an economy. A good brand tells us, via emotional shorthand, what kind of qualities a product or service has. It’s a vision of life, massively condensed, and it markets a sense of belonging to these qualities and this vision. The actual product or service is in some ways secondary to these values.
So, what’s so good about this? Well, brands make ideas reproducible and universal and allow particular qualities to multiply. And brands help to overcome the unreliability of individuals. The brand offers the template and the rules, so that you don’t need to be a genius to bring about something of genius.
“We actually need – and hugely benefit from – good things being developed as brands. We need more good things to shift from being cottage industries to being global brands. For example, it is a great pity that the British psychoanalyst, Donald Winnicott (who died in 1971), remains just one individual who gave birth to a few great books and lectures that colour the education of present-day analysts rather than, as should have happened, a brand that would outlive him, complete with centres, films, logos and a clear ideology to communicate to the world… A good brand is one that is built round a set of genuine virtues: of qualities that properly help us flourish. We need a lot more of those brands.”
So, if you are ever in a position of rebranding your business, don’t make the mistake of thinking you are just following in a cynical convention – you have the opportunity to imbue your brand with the values and outlook that you genuinely believe in. Your brand helps you help people.