How can we critically account for the rise of branding in recent years? What are its causes and consequences? Use at least three examples to illustrate your argument.
Rise of branding
The term brand and branding are marketing technologies that are understood to stand for distinct marketing practices that are intended to link products and services with cultures that resonate with them via the use of images and narratives.Branding has been around for many years. Traditionally, the branding activities took a direct approach as consumer tastes were disciplined. In the recent past, branding has taken a different approach, an indirect approach. In the recent past, branding is practiced by installing definite sets of relations between the consumers and the products and services.This branding is achieved through a construction of a particular ambience that comprises sensibilities andvalues. Branding is no longer associated with a given commodity.Instead, itencompasses the consumption process and the ‘virtual context’ that defines the consumption process in its entirety. With the branding issue turning more flexible, branding is increasingly being called upon to fix the cultural meanings associated with consumption, albeit temporarily and in a tentative manner (Page 182).
Branding has grown in the recent past, and its boundaries broken as it now includes individuals. Self-branding is a new concept via which people are being packaged as brands. This brand is defined as a projection of what the society perceives a person to be and is biased based on expectations and other factors at the time of the branding. The brand, however, is separate from the actual person. In the United States of America, several shows that have come up that primarily deal with self-branding. The show creates celebrity personalities and participants are expected to follow certain predefined codes of conduct. Self-branding is inseparable from the commercial sense that drives the branding process. For instance, when a celebrity promotes a given commodity, the promotional activity cannot be separated from his personal brand. They are packaged as one. Promotional culture is directly tied to the branded self and it determines the principles and the value of the particular brand (Harold 341). The Brand also adds a significant value to a given commodity. This brand culture is epitomized by the celebrities promoting a range of products. These products usually remain associated with the celebrity.
Inself-branding, the individual can also be the commodity in question. Individuals are expected to promote their brand to their expected audience based on the expectations of their targeted audience. For instance, a husband can decide to brand themselves targeting their wife as the target audience. The wife’s expectations are used as the guiding factors in the self-brand and the individual. This form of branding is commonly referred to as personal branding. In personal branding, an individual is required to evaluate themselves based on their skills, character strengths and flaws. The individual is encouraged to distill the values that are strengths and amplify them. The branding is then built on the outstanding skills and personal attributes. The customer or the target audience must be aligned with the skill or personal attribute being marketed (Ashworth & Mihalis 121). Personal visibility campaigns are carried out by the people who want to build personal brands. One is required to expose their ‘braggables’ in every venue that avails opportunities to market their ‘commodity.’
As self-branding and personal branding continues to take new dimensions and also continues to grow, its place in the workplace has gained a significant part as well.In modern times, the workplace requires workers to be agents of their personal brands.Every employee at the workplace is encouraged to distill their values and strengths and to project these values to the company’s customers. Companiesare increasingly using these values to recruit their potential employees. Employees with personal attributes that are consistent with the company’s values and image are recruited and are expected to show their values to their customers. Self-branding is expected to be shown not just within the firms’ environment, but also on a personal level. Companies usually direct their employees in terms of the clothing they are required to wear. For some firms, distinct uniforms are necessary. The clothing also forms part of the company’s image and personal grooming is expected to be consistent with the company’s brand (Vallas and Emily 1).
Self-branding is different from the marketing form that is associated with artificial products. The personal branding is not formulaic nor is it highly circumscribed as the one associated with goods and services. Personal branding is different in that it is an ongoing process and encompasses the whole life of an individual. However, personal branding has been accused of its artificial nature and application of marketing rules and principles on living beings.Personal brands limit people to working within a certain environment and not to deviate from the circumstances that define heir personal brands. This attribute is not human given that humans are expected to show different emotions and feelings when faced with certain circumstances. A personal brand restricts people from showing certain aspects of their true self in public due to their celebrity status and their personal brands.Celebrities even have Public Relations managers in charge of determining events and actions that are considered consistent with their personal brands. The managers are responsible for growing the brand name.Branding of individuals is a lucrative business and professionals are turning tomarketing individuals with a need for self-branding (Speed, Patrick and Neil 132).
Personal branding has also been accused of its impersonal nature. Individuals are expected to live within certain rules that do not encourage trust and bonding with other individuals. Other human beings are viewed as objects and interactions with such objects may determine how the personal brand is viewed. A lot of political maneuvering, cynicism, and competition have characterized personal branding. The more popular popular a brand is, the more profitable it becomes.Authenticity issues have also been raised with respect o personal brands. Some individuals may embrace the concept of personal branding with humble and clear objectives of projecting their authentic self. However, the different rules by which the personal branding concept plays, make it difficult to exhibit true self. The authentic self and the marketed self are often inseparable and non-differentiable. A market discourse usually affects the effort to project an authentic self as opposed to the brand the rules dictate. The culture of promoting oneself has taken over the world and has affected the perceptions that humans have on various people, especially the public figures (Malär 37).
The role of the Internet
The internet has certainly played its part in the rising popularity of the self-branding concept. It is no longer possible for individuals that are considered celebrities andpublic figures to maintain a private life. The emergence of social media in the 21st century has also contributed to the expansion of the internet to all parts of the world. The main social media places such Facebook, Twitter and Google+, have millions of people registered and using their services on a daily basis. Information in the social media places travels fast. Both true information, hearsay and propaganda, travel as fast through the social media sites. Every public personality has an account on these sites and is expected to update their fans throughout the world of their activities. The globe is hungry for such information, ignoring the sites, therefore, is not an option. Through their personal accounts, they are able to inform the public of information that is considered consistent with their personal brands. These platforms are also used to demystify any rumors that may arise from malicious sources (Gardner 1).
The internet has grown and businesses have gone online in an effort to reach more people. Via the internet, businesses can access millions of potential customers. Business empires such as Amazon and Ebay have grown and continue to prove that the role of the internet in the modern world can no longer be ignored. Using the platforms is also a profitable venture as more people have gained from their use. YouTube has been used by musicians and a myriad of other talentedpeopleto gain popularity and to promote their brands. These free promotion opportunities have benefitted many and presented an opportunity for more (Labrecque, Ereni and George 45).Installation of faster technologies to connect the world through optic fiber means that the internet and its use will expand. More people can now enjoy faster internet services.Technology and social media have a huge role to play in the future and branding will certainly use the platform to further its impact in the world.
In the recent past, employers have been known to have high interest in employees’ personal attributes.Personal questions being asked in interview rooms is no longer considered necessary. The internet is turning out to be the true reflection of the actual self.Employers are turning online for information on their potential employees. This trend is picking up in many organizations and is a cause for alarm for many young people who have embraced social media and all its concepts (Kanai 1). To make matters worse, some of the candidates for positions do not even know that their potential employers are searching for their information online. This knowledge has led to job agencies advising their clients to be wary of the information they put online.In fact, people are being encouraged to use the online accounts to market themselves as they do not know when potential employers will decide to look. However, the issue affects both the potential employees as well as existing employees. Firms, especially private institutions expect their employees to maintain a certain level of professionalism as they are considered agents of the company’s brand.
The popularity of tattoos is also embedded in the culture of branding for personal reasons. People’s decisions to wear tattoos is anchored on the belief thattattoos are used to personify somebody’s attributes. They are considered a modern notion as more people opt to wear tattoos. However, the tattoo culture is an old culture, and the branding issue has integrated some of its concepts in an effort to express one’s individuality. Graffiti on the walls is also considered a way of expressing oneself. Artists are using various options to express their brands (Ashworth & Mihalis 120).
In conclusion, brands are everywhere. The modern world has been equated with living in a brand culture whereevery action is measured in cultural as well as economic terms. The social media has a huge impact on the present generation and continues to shape our cultures. Branding has shifted from the marketing business environment to encompass every aspect our societies including people. Public figures are the most affected, especially celebrities and their lives that are continually in the public arena.Personal branding uses more or less the same rules as the rules used in commercially promoting a products with individuals as the commodity. How they groom, their actions and how they communicate to the public forms the packaging of the ‘product.’ The branding has been used to great commercial benefits comparable to the success achieved by businesses that have engaged in good and effective branding procedures (Khedher1). However, branding is separable from the individual and can thus be changed and enhanced without really changing the person.People have embraced the self-branding concept to a point that is impossible to differentiate the authentic self from the marketing self. The marketing self is usually determined by the demands of the target media. In the case of the celebrities, their huge fan base forms their target audience.Definitely, branding is here to stay. Deciding whether one should embrace it or not is no longer an option available in the modern times.
Ashworth, Gregory J., and Mihalis Kavaratzis. “Rethinking the Roles of Culture in Place Branding.” Rethinking Place Branding. Springer International Publishing, 2015. 119-134.
Gardner, Jeremiah. “The “Personal Brand” Myth.” (2013).
Harold, Christine. “BUSINESS OF PERSONAL BRANDING AND COMMUNITY IN ANXIOUS TIMES.” The Routledge Companion to Advertising and Promotional Culture (2013): 341.
Kanai, Akane. “WhatShouldWeCallMe? Self-Branding, Individuality and Belonging in Youthful Femininities on Tumblr.” M/C Journal 18.1 (2015).
Khedher, Manel. “Personal Branding Phenomenon.” Business and Management6.2 (2014).
Labrecque, Lauren I., Ereni Markos, and George R. Milne. “Online personal branding: processes, challenges, and implications.” Journal of Interactive Marketing 25.1 (2011): 37-50.
Malär, Lucia, et al. “Emotional brand attachment and brand personality: The relative importance of the actual and the ideal self.” Journal of Marketing 75.4 (2011): 35-52.
Speed, Richard, Patrick Butler, and Neil Collins. “Human Branding in Political Marketing: Applying Contemporary Branding Thought to Political Parties and Their Leaders.” Journal of Political Marketing 14.1-2 (2015): 129-151.
Vallas, Steven P., and Emily R. Cummins. “Personal Branding and Identity Norms in the Popular Business Press: Enterprise Culture in an Age of Precarity.” Organization Studies (2015): 0170840614563741.
Page, Ruth. “The linguistics of self-branding and micro-celebrity in Twitter: The role of hashtags.” Discourse & Communication 6.2 (2012): 181-201.
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