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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 8. Brands, Personal Branding, and Community


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With personalization, however, the customer becomes a co-creator of the content of the experience. More and more customers want to play this role. —Daryl Travis, 2000, p. 127

From personal marks in ancient times to today’s personal branding, symbols have been used to identify people. Personal branding and brand communities will be addressed in this chapter. With the creation of the term “selfies” comes the idea of personal branding. New media, the Internet, smartphones, and tablets now enable people to individually brand themselves. People identify with different brands because people wear them as a sign of personal branding. For example, Jimmy Choo shoes are extremely expensive, and the design of the shoes lets people know who is wearing them. The branded logo can appear on the front and back of the shoe. Moreover, the name is embossed on the soles. When walking in sand, snow, or any soft surface, the name leaves an impression. There is no doubt that Jimmy Choo’s design is letting individuals know that the wearer has paid $600 for a pair of shoes (unless you can find them on sale for $400). People wearing these shoes will identify with each other, because only a person with money and taste can buy these products. At times individuals with similar brand interests form a community. ← 113 | 114 →

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