Friday, 23 May, 2008

The Livers of the Brand

The heart of the brand, the core of the brand, the brand seed, the living truth of the brand, the dying gasps of the brand, the whatever of the whatever.

Does a brand need all these?

One expects a brand to be a fairly simple thing, a name for a thing, a proper noun, no more.

The name means some things, just as Pabitra A. Chatterjee means some things to people who know me. However, these are simple things, easily explicable to laymen.

The admixture of all of them may be somewhat complex for a layman (though even that should be fairly simple for a shrink or a detective), but which laymen needs to deal with the sum of parts? Even I needn’t be a walking encyclopaedia on myself.

So why the convolution about names of things? Why all the alignments, classifications, and trademarked mind-reading tools – the parallelograms, pentagons and prisms?

I suppose we may find a clue in the other proper business, life. For most of us, life is pretty uncomplicated. It stinks. When the stench becomes unbearable, we see a doctor, a psychologist or a financial planner, but that doesn’t complicate it. Not permanently at any rate.

However, for the very intelligent, the very stupid, the very successful and the very useless, life needs meaning. They have questions. What is life? What does god want (of me)? Where did we come from? Where are we (I) going?

They need philosophy.

Philosophy is a fairly big bazaar, with a range that stretches all the way from occult to religion to bad German translated into denser English.

I daresay it’s all fairly interesting and helpful.

But its biggest advantage is that ‘beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder’, not his bank account. (The beautician’s bank account is a different matter.)

Besides, I imagine one of the greatest joys of digging philosophy is the fact that you dig philosophy. Having sex is sometimes good enough; you needn’t make love. So with philosophy. So with brand building.

“We’ve got a 178-page consultant’s report. We’ve arrived.”

“Our brand archaeologist has boiled the business down to two simple words: ‘Simple Solutions’. Sharply focused yet limitlessly extendable.”

“We occupy the crevice between soiled nappies and rotten lettuce in brandscape. El Dorado has been sighted. We only need the map to take us there.”

What’s my problem?

Only one: Philosophy is hard.

The other extreme, commonsense, is unsatisfactory and, possibly, unsafe. At best, it’s heuristic.

Moreover, ‘commonsense’ is a light word. It makes the listener feel as if he is common and his problems are commonplace ones.

(You won’t like it if your doctor simply told you to eat apples, and not the Latin name of that pain in the wrong place.)

I believe a compromise may be struck by adapting a suitable vocabulary. One that you can sprout wearing a suit, or at least a tie.

Numbers? Which ones?

The Synonym function is MS Word, with a little help from answers.com?

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