July 30, 2003

Beyond Branding

When I read Gonzo Marketing and The Cluetrain Manifesto a couple years ago the ideas presented seemed so right but so out of reach. Gonzo and Cluetrain took what marketers were missing online and gave us a whack on the side of the head. The ideas in these books have continued as conversations on the net (where and how they started) and I think we're on the brink of a real marketing transformation.

The evidence is more apparent every day. For the past few years at work I've had this feeling of the kid in the back of the class with an idea waiving his hand but chickening out at the last minute because he thought no one would understand where he was coming from. "These people only know the old paradigm. How could I possibly get them to understand the new. It's so foreign to them." Perhaps Cluetrain and Gonzo led me to believe this too much.

But as I see things like Up2Speed playing a dominant role in shaping online marketing and advertising and I hear things like "community of trust" and "connecting buyers with buyers" in my 35 year old company's strategy meeting .... really making something out of our company's 'noble purpose,' "Bringing people together to advance their lives" I feel like the sales job is going to be a heck of a lot easier. People are starting to get it.

Which brings me to the title of this entry and a new book coming out in the fall, Beyond Branding. While I've only read the website, this book looks like it encompasses what I see as true branding. All companies brand, whether it's the image they wish to portray or the reality of the organization. The book includes a whole slew of authors coming from various branding backgrounds and talks about "a long term, people-centric view that stresses substance over hype. [It] will help to restore credibility and trust for brands. It will re-affirm the mutual commitment of the employee/employer relationship. It will give power to the consumer. And it will stress the pre-eminence of the genuine shareholder over the speculator." With sections on Authenticity, Transparency and Brand Ownership, this looks to be a good addition to the latest in ideas on the transformation of marketing.

(thanks to Ton for the Beyond Branding link)

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