Branding, Popular Music, and Young People
Brand Builders Professional brand builders The flexible relationships between corporations, marketers and cul- tural participants reflect the mobile nature of contemporary brands. The cultural industries are a dynamic and fragmented network of contractors, agencies and people providing content and labor. In this chapter I examine the work of brand-building by marketers and other professionals in the culture industry. Marketers who craft experien- tial brands aim to empower consumers by letting them drive the brand-building action at the same time they aim to accumulate capi- tal by strategically exploiting their labor. Marketers and their cultur- al industry partners derive a sense of legitimacy and authenticity about their work from the assumption that the corporations they work for are socially responsible (Deuze, 2007). Marketers construct the narrative that the marketing programs they develop are ethical and socially responsible because they ‘empower’ cultural participants in the process of empowering themselves and the corporations they work for. They also treat their work as instrumental and strategic and meaningful when it generates capital value for the corporation they work for. Experiential brands are the product of a decentralized network of production. The decentralized nature of this cultural workforce is both economically efficient and decreases the likelihood of public discus- sions about the role of corporations in social life. McRobbie (2002, p. 519) argues that ‘there is little time, few existing mechanisms for or- ganization, and anyway, no workplace for a workplace politics to de- velop’ in the flexible, ‘speeded up,’ constantly changing spaces of...
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