Branding, Popular Music, and Young People
Edited By Nicholas Carah
‘I’m Here to Party…’: The Social Narratives of Brands From brands to branding Throughout this book I have detailed how brands develop ironic and reflexive persona, embed themselves in cultural milieu, create origin myths and stealthily influence meaning-making processes (Holt, 2002). In addition to these practices, contemporary brands also weave in narratives of ethical substance and social responsibility. Marketing and corporate communications literature traditionally maintains an ambiguous separation between branding strategies and social respon- sibility initiatives. Kotler and Lee (2005, p. 2) define corporate social responsibility as ‘a commitment to improve community well-being through business practices and contributions of corporate resources.’ This definition appears benign. Their explanation of how to put corpo- rate social responsibility into practice details how socially responsible initiatives should have a good strategic fit with the values, goals and markets of the business. This includes building brand identity. Corpo- rate social responsibility, initiatives and marketing all fundamentally tie together ethical narratives with brand values in ways that are strategically beneficial for the corporation. The contrived theoretical separation of corporate social responsi- bility from branding obscures how corporate conceptions of social re- sponsibility are necessarily limited by the strategic imperatives of the corporation. Marketing strategies with social objectives contribute to constructing an ethico-political framework within which brands oper- ate. The conceptual apparatus of the brandscape is useful in articulat- ing the links between brand-building activities and the production of branding as a social, ethical and political logic. Brand-building is not just about individual brands but about...
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