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Branding as Communication


Susan B. Barnes

Once only a sign, technologies have helped to transform brands into symbols that we constantly encounter in our natural and mediated environments. Moreover, the branding of culture marks a commercialization of society. Almost everywhere we look, a brand name or logo appears.
By combining a scholarly approach with case studies and examples, this text bridges the worlds of communication and business by providing a single vocabulary in which to discuss branding. It brings these ideas together into a coherent framework to enable discussions on the topic to occur in a variety of disciplines. A number of perspectives are also provided, including brands as signs and symbols, brand personality, history, communication, cognitive factors, loyalty, personal branding, community, and social issues.
Providing a comprehensive overview of the branding process – from the creation of brands to analysis of their messages – readers will begin to understand the communicative impact of branding.
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Chapter 5. Branding and the Mind


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To be effective, propaganda must constantly short-circuit all thought and decision. It must operate on the individual at the level of the unconscious. —Jacques Ellul, 1973, p. 27

This chapter takes concepts from cognitive science and describes how marketers apply these ideas to marketing, advertising, and consumers. By examining how the brain works, we can better understand how brands stay in the forefront of the consumer’s mind. Are we really in control of the brands we like? This chapter examines the unconscious motivations that cause people to act, noting that the intricate workings of the brain can influence our buying decisions and how we perceive a brand.

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