Beyond Branding

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Beyond Branding is written by members of The Medinge Group

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February 17, 2004

Rehearsing Viral Gossip - how do we light a fire for humanity?  

Here's some of the hot gossip going on at the biggest virtual tent in the universe (well unless you can tell us other spaces where great 14-day debates percolate). Remember entry is free, but to pick up on any of these conversations, you will need to register once, here

SOUNDBITES - what you may be gossiping
link A True brand symmetry is a POWERFUL experience, one that produces results, and requires that leaders (of companies, institutions, brands, projects, teams) acknowledge the one thing that most brand strategies have historically missed...that individuals cannot be co-opted -- but instead can and must be trusted to co-create the brand.

link B As an open call among practitioners - whose conversation spaces seem so limited compared to academics - we want to value meta-disciplinary conversation: Beyond Branding emerged around our shared frustration about the shortcomings and false promises of much conventional branding, and our desire for something better, more human and more worthwhile to emerge. we criticise (how human is) branding from within rather than from outside; and our high-trust invitation to other professions is to ask is your dailioy work doing the most human practices you spent years learning your profession for? We don't say that the power of branding is inherently bad, but we do say the way it is often implemented is bad. Many brands now lack credibility because they fail to create value for some or all of their stakeholders.

link C The book is also a testament to the global nature of our concerns. We are worried by the institutionalization of bad practices by organizations and the antipathy that many people in business express. Down here in New Zealand, one might think that we would spark plenty of clear thinkers. Certainly Peter Jackson is living proof of that; Kevin Roberts of Saatchi & Saatchi has written a book on 'lovemarks'. But New Zealand is also home to plenty of groupthink. The barriers seem pretty big, so how does one break through them? I began with the view that change has to occur within our current system. If money is the god of capitalism, then companies could be convinced to become more moral and honest if they could be shown there's money in it.

link D Brands exist in where there is agreement between stakeholders ...Managers and employees generally need a better experience of thier own brand. They need to internalize and personalize their partners' needs, and their service promise to the world. I believe this will improve employee and customer satisfaction, and the ways that organizations exist in the world.

link E
A brand that stands for "more killing" multiplies negative equity

link F Open Space surprises participants by controlling less and giving them "agency" - the power and responsibility to create the conversations they want in an organisation. They discover that this process does not need to be managed by someone else.Cluetrain highlights how the conversation economy increasingly shapes brands way beyond the bidding of so-called brand managers. In a way, a form of Open Space is being forced on organisations anyway.
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