Edwin Heathcote, writing in the Jan. 15, 2011 Financial Times on old British eateries, said:
The more everything becomes the same, the more ubiquitous branding begins to grate, the more everything looks like it belongs in a mall – the more Britian’s few surviving “caffs” represent a refuge.’
Heathcote was writing about those British cafes, simple diner-like eateries serving breakfast, lunch and tea. They are disappearing, squeezed out by rising rents and self-conscious chain retailers and eateries. Fake, contrived eateries that are far too clever than necessary, are squeezing out real places.
But his comment applies to all branding. These are the questions I wonder about:
- Is there too much branding?
- Must we all be so concerned with branding?
- Isn’t a good brand really the result of a moral, well-run company? Isn’t it better that hospitals focus on patients, and let the “branding” speak for itself? Do churches really need to “brand” themselves, or is it better that they focus on saving souls? Do we really need for banks to have visual identities, or do we want them to treat us properly when we make a deposit?
- Is the most recent mania for branding yet another management fad that we use to obscure coercion, duplicity and manipulation?