Has branding become a joke?

Jennifer Whitehead writes a fascinating piece in the MediaGuardian on whether branding has gone too far.

Whitehead brings up a great point, though, about companies going too far. Lacoste recently lost a legal battle with a dental practice for logo infringement - claiming consumers might get confused (see Paranoia Running Rampant at Lacoste & More on the Lacoste/Dental Practice Logo Battle). This is a narrow-minded, cowardly stance for a venerable brand like Lacoste. No one, especially people getting a root canal, will be getting the dentist mixed up with the classic polo shirt maker. Companies need to stop thinking brands are simply their logo.

On that note, I am a believer in the emotional tie consumers can have to a product, company or brand. And I am a believer that people need to brand themselves. But I believe what Tom Peters et al meant by the "Brand Called You" was that you, like all truly good brands, you must stand for something and deliver on that promise. It doesn't mean we have our own logos. That's thinking that a brand is a logo. Wrong. The swoosh is not Nike's brand. Nike's brand is what the swoosh represents - excellence, competition, performance, winning, etc. Personal branding is not "treating yourself like a bottle of ketchup" as Whitehead suggests.

Read the full article here.

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