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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 11. Brands and Cultural Concerns


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Today clever branding has become nothing more than an exercise in loading a product with the social values consumers want. —Daryl Travis, 2000, pp. 16–17

A number of issues have been addressed about the relationship and presentation of branding to people. An example is how American brands have spread to other cultures around the world. As these brands are disseminated, a countercultural movement has developed to alter the meaning of different brands. Culture jamming is a method that groups use to challenge the idea of branding. Publications such as Adbusters create an alternative conversation to commercialism. Brands are altered in their discussions. Additionally, advertising practices that create cultural concerns are presented, such as behavioral targeting, contextual advertising, abuse of user-generated content and sex in advertising. The impact of and protest against brands will be described in this chapter, along with a discussion of how brands are socially responsible citizens. There are both positive and negative aspects to the relationship between brands and culture.

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