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It clear to me that you have not read my earlier posts properly or followed my reasoning closely, or done any additional research to grasp what I'm writing about.
Granted, I may have over-utilised the opportunity Mark & Laura have provided to say what I have to say but it is only because they have engaged and challenged me that I've gone on to clarify my position. To say that I have hijacked this blog is an overstatement and fits your mocking demeanor.
If Mark and Laura are not prepared to accommodate a discussion with people like me who take issue with branding methodologies they should not attempt to host related discussions. Cooing compliments from peers only fuels the perception that brand consulting is all about shiny packaging.
I have no qualms about my posts and I stand by what I've written. Perhaps on further reflection you'll see how your expression is not an intelligent response, instead what you've written comes across as childish ridicule and makes you look like nothing more than a smart-arse.
I challenge you to take issue with the specifics of what I've written...
In response to your (hidden) reply above.
I appreciate your efforts to integrate a brand-mark-based brand-handling language with your metaphor of Brand Signals but I do have to make a strong objection. Brand Marks and Brand Signals are related but different types of thinking about brands.
A brand-mark is, primarily, a direct reference to any term of an identity, particularly an identity that can also be usefully held as a brand. This means that, firstly, in a brand-mark-based brand-handling language all the terms of a brand are handled as marks in a direct and literal sense. Secondly, handling the terms of a brand as marks offers many benefits including (and beyond) a metaphorical relationship to the marked terms.
Just in case I have to explain the importance of understanding a brand as made up of terms, the terms of a brand determine the experience of a brand. Terms determine conditions and conditions establish environments. Such an 'environment' is the 'space' of a brand and this notion is relevant across all types of space. These 'environments' are formed and configured by determining the terms on which they are constructed. This is not only true of the experience of brands but the experience of any distinct environment. A distinct environment is effectively a distinct identity and a distinct identity is effectively a distinct brand.
Only insofar as the terms of a brand are held as marks is there a correlation to your notion of Brand Signals. The notion of a brand-mark in the sense that I have proposed is far more profound than the Brand Signals metaphor and consequently not limited only to a metaphoric relationship to the terms of a brand. A Brand Signal is clearly a metaphor for the signifiers of a brand but the notion does not seem to offer more than an attractive analogy.
The strength of working with marks is that a mark not only offers a means to handle the terms of a brand but exists a part of a language that is also made up of marks. A language-based system that offers both an as literal and direct as possible means to handle terms (ie. non-metaphorical) as well as enables metaphorical understandings of a brand such as the one you have proposed in Brand Signals.
In thinking about brands as made up of marks, a mark such as a word or image is used to mark a term such as a sound or logo and then as a mark it can be usefully handled both as a mark marking the term and a marked thing handled as a mark. These types of marks are generally of two types but a single mark can exist as both (1) a known tag that has reached social consensus such as a dictionary definition of a word or the generally accepted recognition that Nike's tick means athletic apparel or (2) a cue to other possible interpretations of the marked thing handled as a mark such as a work of art with 'open' readings. Within the second type (ie. a mark as a cue) it also makes sense to talk about the metaphors involved in a brand experience but a mark as a cue is not limited to metaphor alone. Apple is a good example of a brand-mark that works as a tag and a cue. For the sakes of brevity I won't elucidate exactly how. I'll leave you to work into this idea based on what I've written above.
So, if you ever want to get serious about the difference between Brand Signals and Brand Marks this post is a taster of what I mean. And, as I wrote earlier 'simple is relative'. I believe consumers and people who buy brand consulting services have tired of the kind of simple you have suggested is still relevant to contemporary brands.
I believe it's time for a real change in how we handle and understand not only commercial brands but the world in general. I believe a brand-mark-based brand-handling language will make such an ambition possible.
In the UK we call them soundmarks. And, in relation to my earlier posts (Mark & Laura), a soundmark, like a brandmark, is one of many marks that make up a brand experience.
It seems Gregg means not using logos in brand experiences. Usually this means a simple typographic rendering of the brand-name that is not proprietary in its graphic representation, and is used only to convey the name. Not a typical logo but a logo none-the-less.
Naomi Klein's book 'No Logo' is a separate issue. It was a great read for me. I think she is a terrific writer who grasps and conveys complex issues of corporate behaviour insightfully. However, the premise of the title is fundamentally flawed in the sense that it did not demonstrate any awareness of the paradox. 'No Logo' as a title can also be convincingly held as a logo ie. a primary brand-mark of Naomi Klein's book.
The conclusion is that any primary mark of any distinct identity is effectively a 'logo'.
To your and my replies above...
The point I'm making is that a logo is best handled as one of many related and coordinated brand-marks. The conceptual system underlying the reason for my proposal has the potential to properly resolve the problem of the perceived importance of the 'logo'.
Referring to the primary mark of a brand as a 'brandmark' is only a formality. It is intended to replace the term 'logo' but to assert that it is a dismissable alternative relegated to 'what Andrew Sabatier believes' is to almost completely miss my point about brands as whole and distinct systems.
If you follow my reasoning (to the word), and to your point, you'll note that all variations of 'the logo' (as defined in my earlier post) can be handled as a brandmark. A brandmark can be sub-divided into wordmark and symbol, no matter what the combination (or absence of the one or the other in the formal artwork version). If a symbol alone is the primary brand-mark then it is the 'brandmark' and like-wise with a wordmark or combination of the two. Simple.
At no stage have I suggested you are wrong. The whole brand-handling-language-space needs an overhaul; not just a re-packaging. What I'm expressing is that 'Brand Signals' is attractive thinking in the context of the problem but it does not address the root cause. Sure, you can make 'Brand Signals' work for you in terms of marketing yourselves to clients only vaguely aware of the problem but you shouldn't take 'Brand Signals' all that seriously on an academic level.
Thanks to digital we now think of brands in terms of whole, dynamic and distinct systems. Logos are a relic from a slower moving and Platonic language-space – an almost entirely different universe, quite literally.
Logos aren't dead but the emphasis placed on them has changed dramatically.
I think you underestimate the capacity of language to mediate experience.
You haven't challenged, explored or tested any of what I've proposed. This leads me to think that you assume to have grasped the significance of what I'm writing about.
I don't disagree with you but I do think your proposed alternative to handling brand experiences is not as effective as you believe.
I would say that the notion of 'brand signals' although relevant (and attractive) is not profound enough to root out the cause of the problem of the relevance of logos in brand experiences.
To equate the notion of brand signals with brand-marks is to not compare apples with apples. If anything, 'brand signals' is likely to perpetuate the problem because it tends to avoid the issue.
I haven't dreamt up brand-marks to entice an audience. Brand-marks relate to an existential framework that makes sense of everything, with specific relevance to brands and brand identity.
There is a lot more than marketing at stake in this discussion. The issue cannot be easily relegated to mere semantics. Semantics is the crux of the problem.
Terms mediate experience.
As a result of a long history of a truth and facts-based language strategy it appears that this approach has been fully exhausted. There are no facts other than personal and social facts. Ideal facts are unrealsable in any sense and on this basis fail, without exception.
Personal facts fail with little effort and social facts require widespread mutual consent for success and failure. This consent does not require a belief in an underlying objective reality that would give credence to ideal facts.
All things, of which facts are an example, fail if pursued. On this basis all that remains is opinion. Brand management is tantamount to opinion management.
A brand is a collectively held opinion. All we can hope to do is manage opinion and direct opinion in the most credible and compelling manner possible. To achieve this we need to construct stories difficult to make fail. If a product or service is found wanting, a brand experience and the corresponding brand story is easy to make fail.
The approach demonstrated in my response to your post represents a radical rethinking of how language relates to the world. Brands enable us to make our way in the world so it makes sense to apply this approach to brands.
All confidence is false. To qualify, all ideal propositions are false because they are always subject to the demands of context. All statements appear realisable in the ideal context of formal language but fail in the world. All other types of confidence are relative and can never be certain. Total confidence is impossible to realise in any context.
This is a disastrous approach for any brand to take, no matter how intangible the offering. And certainly not in the automotive world where the tangible problems of everyday language and the physical world, no matter how well handled, can never be fully resolved.
GM is making a very naive philosophical mistake. Perhaps we have found the absurd limit to the pragmatic approach to business and brand management. The qualification caveat is ridiculous and very open to ridicule. This smacks of a panicked leadership polishing brass on the Titanic.
Total confidence with a qualification is meaningless. Someone doesn't deserve the responsibility they have been given. Consumers are not fools. This type of confidence is a good reason for consumers to condemn brands. This type of marketing is coercion of the worst kind, it deserves to fail...
... in my opinion.