The trappings of brand identity

In our modern commerce-driven world it’s sometimes easy to forget that one of the prime functions of a brand is to unite people with a common purpose. A key factor in the success of humans is their ability to co-operate and there is a genetic advantage to form and be members of co-operative groups. These group brands are evident in the trappings of nations, religions, political parties and sports teams and their fans. An excellent example is given by Wally Olins in his 1978 book, ‘Corporate Personality’, where he cites the Confederate Stares in the American Civil War. Soon after the first states seceded from the Union, they realised that states could just as easily leave their new confederation if they they did not display the outward signs of being a cohesive organisation. So, in a few months they had a corporate colour scheme, a flag, a capital, an anthem… even currency.

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