Fioroni and Titerton (2009) “The Brand as a Social Phenomenon and Cultural Icon” from Brand Storming

Brands are now fundamental to society’s DNA. Attention that used to be reserved for powerful people has now been transferred to brands as they take on more human qualities. Many people think we have already witnessed the height of brand power but “we are in fact entering a new phase which will see brands take on a more sophisticated, complex role, a more pervasive, multi-faceted identity destined to rise even further to the role of undisputed protagonist in society” (4).

Brands are aware of public criticism and so they are adapting their approach by taking on more ethical and socially responsible roles. “Being ethical in order to be competitive”

“Brands today are atypical leaders in our post-modern society and must behave as leaders by adopting new methods of communication” (5).

In modern society, brands act as markers of identity (ex. Brands liked on facebook, labels we wear.) Products have become cultural artefacts and brands have become cultural promoters. “legitimization of a product via a brand has increasingly taken on connotations of cultural legitimization rather than functional legitimization – being a cultural model has therefore become more important than doing something or being able to do it” (6).

Consumers play a part in co-authoring brand culture. The more interactions they have with a brand they more they circulate stories about the brand in society that serves to solidify brand culture over time. It is more important for a brand to be talked about than to be consumed.

“Brands are less and less a market phenomenon and increasingly more a cultural phenomenon.” A brands culture is more important now than information. Consumers are already overburdened by information. Consumers aren’t rational and don’t make decisions based on logic. Choosing a brand now comes down to choosing a social anchor. Therefore, advertisers need to focus on creating a product culture – not providing information through ads. When a brand is consolidated by culture, it becomes conventionalized. Established convention is difficult to break or turn away from so brands win loyalty and longevity.

In our society, products have become tools for expressing lifestyle, status, social and political beliefs etc. A brand needs to act like a chameleon to adapt to changing social values, technologies and demographics in order to survive (ex. cleaning products no longer tools for women). Brands are no longer material objects but rather emotional and spiritual concepts.

Our lives are regimented by technology and so when consuming we week everything technology is not – emotion. Brands fill the emotional gaps life by technology.


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