A short theory of the present

The concept of branding had an impressive career since its inception. Bernays, and later Dichter, focused on the external effects of the brand. For them, the brand was a mechanism to engineer the relation between organization and its environments. Today, branding is management’s weapon of choice to structure the internal functioning of organizations. We want to write a theory of that present.


Understanding what happens while the paint is still fresh, the gun still smoking, the engine still warm. So let us fast forward to the finance giant International Netherlands Group, better known as ING. ING Leads the Way in Nationwide Brand Experience and Loyalty Study’ announces the headline of a recent study by a US market research firm.

Concluding remark

13 ING outperformed other well-known brands – such as Toyota, Volkswagen, Southwest Airlines, Radisson, GM, Hyatt, Google, Wonderful World of Disney and Oprah – in creating a superb customer experience and a sense of community. How does ING, almost a century after Bernays’ early experiments, create and use its brand? ING is not only a well-known brand but also a massive business: its 120,000 employees look after 85 million clients in more than 50 countries. In 2008, it was rated as the seventh largest company in the world.

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