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May 2010

What is Branding?

Great article in Monday's Fast Company Magazine by Graham Button titled "Daddy, What's a Brand? and 9 More Awkward Questions for Uncertain Times".  It's a thought provoking summary of how brands work, and their relevance to the next generation of consumers.  The net of the article is that the nature of brands is rapidly changing as new target audiences such as Millennials, and new technologies change our expectations and the way we communicate.

Graham described the new economics and the constant state of change, and how the Economist Intelligence Unit describes a "gap between market awareness and business readiness," particularly in light of the arrival of a new group, the Millennials.

He describes the passing of delayed gratification and intimacy for the instant gratification and remote connections offered by today's communications tools. We've all heard:

"he friends her, she IMs him, he emails, they tweet, he texts, they iChat, she calls, they reach altered states with designer cocktails, have sport sex and never see each other again."

As a result, Graham mentions that relationships between people and possibly between companies are now more transactional, and wonders what the implications are for future brand relationships.

Great visual taken from the article.

He goes on to mention how Millenials "live on a real time drip of real-time connection and are fiercely independent."

He ends the article with an exhortation that companies stay as close to their customers as possible followed by a plea to the advertising industry that all of this talent be deployed in much more creative ways.

The article ends with a great video that summarizes the nature of the way the Millennial generation speaks:

Typography from Ronnie Bruce on Vimeo.