Tuesday, February 28, 2012
When this book came along, it was exactly what I needed. It's a series of interviews with branding professionals including an anthropologist, a professor of design, a cultural critic and numerous designers. Perfect for absorbing in small pieces.
It's loosely grouped into three types of interviews: "Why do brands exist? How are brands created? and What is the future of branding?" My favorites were from Dori Tunstall - an associate professor of design anthropology and Virgina Postrel - an author and cultural critic. Tunstall and Postrel's interviews both fall into the first category which is more exploratory and theoretical than the following two. Both authors explain why we are drawn to brands - to signal our belonging to certain groups and often to express our creativity and individualism.
Brand Thinking offers a great number of discussions on how we choose to identify ourselves and others through the brands that we support or dislike. It also provides an interesting look into how branding professionals seek to seduce us. As a teenager, I was enamored with the Gillette Venus razor goddess commercials (and have stuck with them ever since) so it was illuminating to read about the woman behind the campaign, Cheryl Swanson.
Reading this book allowed me to question the brands that I support and the to understand the feelings/associations that they provoke. Sometimes it further validated my choices or sent me on a hunt for another brand that more closely aligns with my values. All in all, Brand Thinking is accessible and offers great insight into an industry that has revolutionized advertising.
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