I’ve been struggling with the issue of ‘what is a brand’ for some time… which may sound like a sad reflection from someone who makes a substantial part of his living out of branding. But I have discussed before ‘What are the necessary and sufficient conditions for something to be called a brand?’ Part of what prompted my introspection was the loose use of the brand term in relationship to personalities – the Brown, Blair, Obama, Tiger Woods, Madonna ‘brands’. Uncomfortable though I may be, I have come down to semiotics, in that a brand must be a signifier AND have a signified – and that signified encompasses brand values.
So, some personalities to encapsulate values that make them viable as brands. What clarified this was the ‘Jedward’ phenomenon. Pundits are pointing out how clever (?) they were in having now created a brand even in their demise. I would argue that at this time, they are NOT a brand. They have a signifier with no signified; there are no apparent values behind the ‘brand’ right now.
Maybe you think otherwise?