Make things as simple as possible, but no simpler

How do writers make sense of branding? What are their different perspectives? Not surprisingly, there is no single definition of the notion ‘brand’ that researchers and practitioners would agree on. Our discussion of different perspectives is driven by Einstein’s dictum and a rather pragmatic analysis of the literature.5 We have developed a simple two-by-two matrix that explains not everything, but a fair bit.

Marketing and Public Policy

The first quadrant of our map welcomes branding as an additional implement in management’s toolbox. Management is the driver of branding, and the focus is squarely on the level of the individual organization and (most often) on its products and services. One of the key advocates of this take on branding is David Aaker, esteemed E.T. Grether Professor of Marketing and Public Policy at Berkeley and author of over 100 articles and 14 books.

Concluding remark

Finally, the fourth quadrant identifies a school of thought that conceptualizes brands as media. Adherents of this line also think of brands from the vantage point of a consumer society. But rather than analysing brands as individual signs, they argue that brands are institutionalized structures. Their focus is on brands as a media that links society, organizations and individuals. Celia Lury, a Professor at the Department of Sociology, Goldsmiths, University of London, has developed this perspective most profoundly

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