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It is possible that one can loose interest in a particular brand and move on to another rather quickly.

Similarly, when it’s said that a brand’s components, or touchpoints must be “integrated” this raises questions on how to meet this vague objective.

To ensure the “brand experience” is truly an experience, (versus various interrelated mediums), the brand must progress throughout its execution. A recent example is JC Penney. There’s currently so much focus on store re-design and pricing – yet will the old JCP overshadow the proposed changes? This is contingent on the consumer response to any internal ( such as organizational network/culture, strategy) modifications and whether the brand acts differently.

So it’s not enough to simply execute – but brands should execute tactics in a tactful manner.

This means thinking ahead – and considering many of the countless ways people could interact with touchpoints, and how they might intertwine their feelings of these interactions with others in everyday conversation, thereby placing their own “spin” on the brand-created tactic.

This thought process isn’t only for retail; but can be applied to any marketing challenge, across industries. Questioning how a brand’s actions connect to the strategy, vis a vis a certain medium is crucial; to not only properly express the brand, but to ensure individuals respond to content in ways that will fuel prolonged brand affinity.

-Jesse de Agustin

@JdeAgustin

Twitter chats escalate and enhance the Twitter experience. In another post, I’ve argued that Twitter is akin to a “seamless stream of consciousness” and chats allow this “stream” to continue in a more focused manner while being part of the overall Twitter ambiance.

Twitter chats are intense. When I join a Twitter chat I’m thinking “big picture” – for instance, what’s the general topic about, and who am I interacting with? Yet I’m also thinking fast – while ensuring my contributions help clarify the question on the table, and advance the discussion by interacting with others to ignite ideas while remaining focused on the overarching theme. Want to “step out of the room” and have a quick exchange with someone? Simply tweet without the Chat’s #Hashtag – and then “re-enter” the group’s discussion! Thinking about Twitter chats in this manner let us treat these events as a means to enhance future content, create new connections, and serve as a gathering “hub” for individuals with similar interests. Additionally, followers can see what I write during a chat – and this can provoke more participation.

When a Twitter chat (or chats) are complete, I’ll “zoom out” of the “Twitter Chat microcosm” and jump back into the greater realm of Twitter. This dynamic interaction with Twitter digs beyond the platform’s surface benefits to share various perspectives within a fairly short and focused timeframe.

Some of the Twitter chats I’ve been taking part in are:

#InfluenceChat   #BrandChat   #SMChat    #CXO  #Rtlchat    #MMchat    #UsGuysChat

How do you approach Twitter chats? Feel free to share some that you partake in and recommend in the comments and/or on Twitter.

Jesse de Agustin

@JdeAgustin

Most are aware of the term “Brand Experience.”  I’ll discuss a rather subtle, yet essential distinction – the “brand experience” & my “experiencing of that brand experience”.

I believe this distinction helps focus attention on the audience for whom the brand experience is for. Let’s begin.

I walk into my local Starbucks and I notice a darkened aura. Obviously, the walls are painted a darker shade of gray, wood finishings were added, along with photographs and “Environmental Stewardship” | “Community Involvement” affixed to a rich wooden backdrop. Also, a neat, new coffee maker – the Clover – is now featured in this particular location. These substantial changes of retail environments are obviously not a frequent happening.

The physical environment of this Starbucks – what I’ll call the ‘brand experience’ has been modified.

Discussing brands in the vernacular of “keeping the experience evolving” brings us to an interesting question – is it the brand experience that should evolve, or the consumer’s actions, in response to that brand experience? Or both?

I believe these ideas work in synch; and a powerful change in brand experience can elicit a different “experiencing of the brand.” However, changing the brand experience (i.e. physical changes) without subsequent changes in a person’s response or actions as a result of that change might make the change seem unnecessary.

How can we keep one’s “experiencing” of the brand experience fluid? Share your view in the comments section and/or on Twitter.

Jesse de Agustin

@JdeAgustin

A recent #HBRChat posed this question: “How did Steve Jobs change the technology world?” Without a doubt, Steve Jobs’ impact upon technology is immense; Apple is a game changer; and the brand that many attempt to emulate. The power of ideas – and creative thought started Apple from nothing, and as a result of Steve Jobs’ deep philosophical underpinnings that guided the long-term vision, his impact spans a greater territory beyond technological contributions.

In 2001, Jobs told Newsweek “. . .I would trade all my technology for an afternoon with Socrates. . .” I believe this truly shows the nature of his inquisitive mind, and helps demonstrate that his inspiration was not from current technology per se, but rather from the possibility to bring powerful, truly innovative concepts to fruition. Jobs showed the importance of arguing for a firm viewpoint, and approaching problems with a relentless passion – all while enjoying the process. I truly hope that his broad, yet focused thinking, honing in on each detail, and constantly challenging the status quo will continue at Apple.

Jesse de Agustin

@JdeAgustin 

Stating that use of the term “engagement” is prevalent in social media and marketing is an understatement. In fact, it is so widely used that many of its references seem somewhat misplaced, simply because this term is used to cover an exceedingly vast territory.

When we examine the term “engagement” with precision, I argue that it’s only a component of what brands ultimately want from their audiences. If I’m engaged – it might mean I’m tuned in, focused, and interacting with an entity (i.e. brand) at a particular point in time. But there’s nothing inherent in the term that’s indicative of anything enduring. For instance, it is possible that one engages with a particular brand – only from point A to point B – but fails to expand beyond this small window of interaction.

Aiming for “Increased Brand Engagement” is important; yet brands should also think multiple steps ahead – and aim for Brand Endurance. This allows one to zoom out, position our thinking steps ahead of particular tactics of engagement and treat the brand as an entity with long-term, evolving qualities. In essence, Brand Endurance encompasses Brand Engagement within its own concept; since for the brand to endure over time, its audiences must be engaged. Brand Endurance transcends various particular instances of interactions, or engagement, all leading to greater brand affinity.

Jesse de Agustin

@JdeAgustin 

Talk of “Brand Evolution” typically has a positive connotation. We often think of an evolving brand as accumulating its historical essence to take part in forward-thinking enhancements. However I’ll argue that’s not always the case, since a brand can evolve and undergo various modifications but simultaneously risk dilution, or being “watered down” with actions lacking much substance.

The Elastic

There are many “elastic brands” who constantly evolve. By “evolve” I mean they have the ability to truly expand (picture a rubber band) by remaining fresh to their audiences and committed to their platform. Whole Foods Market does not sway from their mission – but in fact takes action to enhance the overall customer experience in gradual steps. Their “Heath Starts Here” program spanning the entire company, leverages their food nutrient rating system and diet recommendations. A “Wellness Center” is in progress at initially five Whole Foods locations. The Wellness Center expands the “Health Starts Here” program through educational lectures on the Whole Foods philosophy of healthful eating, thus encouraging people to take charge of their diets. Notice how Whole Foods evolves their brand not with typical line extensions, but with integrated experiences to keep the brand relevant and in-touch with the consumer.

The Buoyant

Buoyant brands stay afloat – they have a position – yet risk being bounced around by competition. Buoyant brands are not necessarily taking wrong courses of action, but if they don’t evolve with care, they risk dilution. What’s interesting is that Abercrombie & Fitch attempted to be an elastic brand with Ruehl 925, yet that expansion spanned two extremes – and ultimately snapped. Recently, A&F introduced women’s “Yoga” pants in their kids, Hollister, Gilly Hicks, and A&F brands. In addition to Victoria’s Secret, this is an attempt to emulate retailer Lululemon. While Lululemon’s competition might capture the yoga pants product with a lower price-point, the real challenge is capturing the Yoga Lifestyle, despite their recent downgrade citing pricey yoga clothing. It’s odd that Abercrombie considers Jersey Shore’s “A&F Flaunting” off-brand, but considering the facets of A&F’s brands, are  yoga pants really an appropriate evolution? Even if yoga is deemed a valuable enhancement, introduce yoga in one or two A&F brands and as a result, magnify this product’s uniqueness and ‘aspirational’ qualities. We’ll see how the yoga category performs; yet it’s obvious that this is simply reactive action to the competition.

And the Totally Diluted

PacSun falls into this category – once a leader in casual “surf-themed apparel” they’ve “watered down” their brand with countless products, that it has washed away a once-crisp identity. I discuss PacSun’s challenge in this article. Also, the Gap brands should distance themselves from one another. Overall, this is something A&F does fairly well; for example, many customers don’t realize Hollister is owned by A&F. Currently, the Gap brand is buoyant – and if Gap continues to cross products & experiences within their portfolio, the Gap brands risk dilution.

Brands will often overlap among these categories; yet what I’ve demonstrated is that brand evolution sans dilution, takes care, thoughtful attention to detail through employing long-term thinking, and considering multiple potential outcomes.

Jesse de Agustin

@JdeAgustin 

The title of this piece is a catalyst for action – and the superb interview (Part 1) by Rick Mathieson with Jonathan Becher, CMO at SAP shows how identifying subtleties upon a background of similarity can yield substantial impact. To spell out his argument, Becher claims “Digital is Dead” and separates the concept of “digital” down into the components or elements encompassing that overall concept, or SO LO MO - Social, Local, and Mobile.

It is typically said that digital communications humanizes brands – but what the above distinction does, in essence is humanize the actual concept of digital.

It seems that “digital” is is frequently tossed around as an all-encompassing term. Thinking in line with Social, Local, and Mobile allows one to isolate the power of ideas as opposed to excess focus on conforming to a particular social platform. I believe there are also subtle differences among the categories of Social, Local and Mobile. The above distinctions are excellent; yet one must remember that these entities are also very interrelated. For instance, it could be argued that what is “social” is also mobile. While this is true, “social” need not be constrained to mobile/social platforms for the overarching concept of “social” also encompasses social interaction sans social media platforms. I agree with Becher that the generic website will increasingly be custom-generated for the specific person based on their prior actions, along with personal likes and dislikes thereby blurring the distinction between the “social and corporate web.” – Perhaps so-called “corporate homepages” will have the similar experience of our ever-changing, customized Linkedin streams!

“Mobile” can collapse even further – one physically interacts with mobile platforms using their body – digging even deeper, this interaction is a byproduct of one’s attitudes, and how one interacts with mobile sheds some light into the nature of their own personal identity and overall lifestyle. Therefore, a close subcategory of “mobile” includes “physical.” All of these distinctions are vessels into a consumer’s mind, actions and brand interactions. Moreover, a custom, “local” user experience interrelated among the facets of digital, is the epitome of reaching – and influencing an audience through dissecting the components of “digital” and discovering how they complement one another.

Jesse de Agustin

@JdeAgustin 

Part 3 – Applications (I suggest you read Part 1 and Part 2 first, if you haven’t done so) 

Quick Summary: This is part 3 consisting of excerpts of my senior philosophy major thesis at The College of New Jersey that I wrote under the direction of Dr. Consuelo Preti.

In part 1 I argued that the jointly necessary and sufficient conditions of a brand are much more vast than a logo. Additionally, I honed in on the subtle differences of a “brand experience” and [the mental state of] “experiencing a brand” through the accumulation of its identity conditions. 

In Parts 1 & 2 I broke down the brand experience. It might be said that experience is the only necessary condition of a brand – however in a similar way that claiming that a brand is a product, this claim, too, is an oversimplification. The brand’s external onlookers (the audience) have experiences; yet this raises the question, “Experience of what?” The experiences are of external content such as product, environment, brand-mark, and logo that are placed together in a manner that provokes a particular experience.  In Real Time, Mellor (1981) argues that experiences are events since an experience is never isolated as one experience but rather we perceive a sequence or “succession” of experiences one after another. In a similar way, “a brand experience” is most accurately described as an “experience of various experiences.” The “brand experience” is an identity condition of the brand extended throughout time in the form of an “event” with temporal parts.

In Part 3, this is where the fun starts and what some may label as “abstract stuff” all of a sudden becomes more “concrete” and is applied to brands that have undergone a kind(s) of “brand change.” This is what I’ll discuss in Part 3. As always comments a are welcomed. 

Part 3

In this section I will show how the above arguments can be applied to examples of real brands. The examples that follow are brands that have undergone a change in one or more of their identity conditions. Moreover, this example will show how the above construction of “brand” as a perduring entity can help understand, analyze and have a positive impact on future brand strategy when modifications are made to a brand.

Abercrombie & Fitch was founded in 1892 and started as an establishment selling formalwear, outdoor gear, fishing equipment, and guns to an older, affluent audience. (Zimbalist, 2005) Yet around 1992 the brand underwent a massive and intricate brand change along with expanding into various newly created “sub-brands”, or a brand within a brand. While the brand is still a retail establishment, the target audience dropped to ages 14-22. The entire product line was replaced with new types of product. While the name and (moose) logo stayed the same, it is safe to say that this example qualifies as a “re-rebranding” effort. Furthermore, while the company did not change the brand did; and underwent such a substantial modification that the “new” Abercrombie & Fitch does not seem, in any way vaguely identical to the original. This observation sounds reasonable; after all, the product, environment, and audience all changed. The experience one has with the brand is different, yet that alone need not qualify a new and distinct brand. The experience is different; yet the brand retains some of its “essence” or historical identity conditions that constitute it as “Abercrombie.” While these conditions are not directly observable they are discretely placed to create an “updated” Abercrombie from Abercrombie at T1. However, Abercrombie retained the “love of outdoors” environment or contextual setting of the brand while dropping the age of the audience that they intend to see in that ‘setting’. If the “Abercrombie brand” is the four-dimensional entity, perduring through time, the “new” Abercrombie is not that different but is simply an evolved time slice of the original brand. The Abercrombie logo is a graphic representation of a “moose” and the evolved Abercrombie brand did not change the logo. This supports my prior argument that change in a brand’s logo does not constitute an all encompassing re-branding (even though the brand changes) – the other changes in the brand’s conditions are much more substantive and are what dictate the re-branding. However, as mentioned before, the Abercrombie “brand-mark” is not it’s logo and it can be argued that the brand-mark did change especially in how the product is made and presented to the consumer. The evolved Abercrombie offers products such as jeans that are torn and covered in paint stains. While these features might be shocking to find on new product in a clothing store, these are attributes of the new Abercrombie. Moreover, these new features in product help provoke a new type of experience in the consumer, along with attracting a different type of consumer.

However, with that said, closely after the time of re-branding, Abercrombie introduced various “sub-brands” or brands that are financially owned by the company but are distinct from the main Abercrombie and Fitch brand. In particular, I will focus on the concepts and brand extensions of “Hollister Co.” and Ruehl 925.” The question is whether these two entities are metaphysically speaking brand extensions of the Abercrombie brand or are different and distinct brands.

While the isolated Abercrombie brand can be argued to be an updated time slice, the addition of Hollister Co. and Ruehl 925 in the Abercrombie company portfolio (added after the time of Abercrombie’s brand change) present an interesting problem. A common characteristic of all three brands is that they target a common audience of the similar age range; yet Hollister Co. and Ruehl 925 have no overt indications that they are included in the Abercrombie brand. Each has a different experience and it is reasonable to say that they could be viewed as two different brands that are unrelated to Abercrombie. Therefore, it seems that these “sub-brands” are related to the main brand but are distinct even though they are a part of the company in a colloquial sense. The actual “brand” perdures while its spatial components endure through time. The above “sub-brands” can be treated as spatially extended entities of Abercrombie in a similar way that the conditions of a brand are spatially extended.

The sub-brand “Ruehl 925” is especially interesting to examine since it no longer exists. Abercrombie & Fitch intended to expand the Abercrombie brand to a similar, yet slightly older demographic by creating the new Ruehl 925 concept and stores in 2005. By 2010, poor performance led to Ruhel’s demise and closing. It is apparent that Abercrombie thought this brand extension would favorably impact their business and thus expand the Abercrombie brand to a different audience who has an affinity towards the Abercrombie and Fitch. However, it seems that by expanding the brand they have essentially shrunk it into obliteration, and in turn, did not create an expansion of the Abercrombie brand but actually an entirely different brand. While Abercrombie attempted to create a “sub-brand” distinct from its other brands, Ruehl’s brand experience was perhaps too similar, along with similar product, and environment as the Abercrombie brand and retail environments.

I return to my prior discussion of presentism, the view that only present things exist to show that on this view, Ruhel 925 no longer exists. Yet if Ruehl is a component of the larger Abercrombie brand, then how can it be said that the components of this brand that do exist actually perdure over time? One solution is a claim I proposed earlier; that Ruehl 925 is not associated with Abercrombie and therefore is its own, independent brand. This might be true upon an audience’s perception of Ruehl 925; however even though the brand was intended to be a brand extension of the Abercrombie brand the prior intentions are irrelevant and with a different audience, product and overall experience, Ruehl does come across as a distinct brand that is not related to Abercrombie.

I believe that an analogy can be drawn from Mellor’s account of perdurantism. Perduring entities are events, Mellor argues and those that endure are “things.” In accordance with Mellor’s account, I argued the brand is the “event” that is extended in four-dimensional space and time – and the products along with the various brand conditions are the “things.” In the case of Abercrombie, many brand components changed – yet the name and logo did not. In a way, the logo did not have to change in order for the brand to be considered updated.

A similar case holds for the name; as an outside observer looking at this “re-branding” it appears that Abercrombie wanted to retain some of its identity and obliterate other aspects of its identity. The intentions of the brand change were to target different demographics but also retain some of the brand’s historical essence. Furthermore, in a way, the “Abercrombie brand event” continues as a similar “event” to the brand at Time 1 in more ways than not; even though, to the common consumer it simply appears as a brand being “present” at Time 1. The product has changed along with the audience and overall experience. Moreover, since this brand expresses themselves through retail stores, the brand environment was also changed to reflect the tastes of their new audience.

Another brand that has undergone brand change is Burberry. While both Abercrombie and Burberry have undergone similar changes, Burberry has not attempted to expand the brand by way of introducing other distinct brands, such as Abercrombie’s Hollister and Ruehl that, on the surface are not related to Burberry. I believe that the Abercrombie branding has a greater complexity for this reason. However, Burberry does have a long 155-year history that started making trench coats for wartime, then to clothing for the queen. Yet in 2000 the luxury products were widely counterfeited and viewed as a “second rate” luxury brand (Hass, 2). Also, prior to the Burberry brand change, the company was selling the Burberry license and trademark to vendors in other countries who would simply place the Burberry logo onto a mere product. I believe that this statement requires some attention because I do recognize that it may be used as an objection.

For instance, one might object as follows: “Well, Burberry places their logo on product – why is it any different if the license is sold to outside vendors who produce product with the Burberry Logo?” This is an interesting objection since the prior outside licensing was not necessarily counterfeit – yet did place Burberry brand into the responsibility of those outside of Burberry. I will now address this and wish to draw special attention that the objection places a large degree of emphasis on the product and logo. As I discussed earlier, while the product is a necessary and sufficient condition for a brand the logo is not. Furthermore, selling the license to outside vendors interrupts the brand’s continuity. Also, the consumer may not have a belief that they are getting a genuine branded product. In light of this diminishing brand equity, the strategy was to eliminate the Burberry “checkered” brand-mark from all except 10 percent of the product, thereby preserving its exclusivity. Additionally, the brand expanded into different types of product, in addition to manufacturing their clothes that target a younger, more progressive audience. Moreover, the evolved Burberry uses new means of getting their consumers to have the brand experience through digital media. Burberry is an evolved time-slice of the original brand – while retaining some of the historical essence by injecting it into the contemporary setting.

Conclusion: In this paper I argued that a brand is an entity that persists overtime. This entity persists by perduring over time. I argued that typical colloquial conceptions of a “brand” overlook important considerations such as how time and experience coincide with what a “brand” is commonly attributed as. After defining what a “brand” is, I inquired into what changes will cause the brand to remain the same brand it was at Time 1 or whether this brand is a different brand all together after its brand modifications by applying the identity conditions to two examples of brand change. In both cases I showed how a different audience at T2 can impact the brand’s modifications. Specifically, the Abercrombie and Fitch application showed that the brand’s intentions of a brand extension can actually be a separate brand along with producing unfavorable results for both the new brand and the main brand of which it was “born” from. In the Burberry case, I showed how a brand’s actions can adversely impact its continuity along with the prominent presence of counterfeit product and how modification in identity conditions can successfully evolve the brand.

Jesse de Agustin

@JdeAgustin

Selected Works Cited:

Hass, Nancy. “Earning Her Stripes” The Wall Street Journal Magazine. 10 September 2010. http://magazine.wsj.com/features/the-big- interview/earning-her-strips/tab/print/

Kurtz, Roxanne Marie. “Introduction to Persistence: What’s the problem?” Persistance: Contemporary Readings, ed. Sally Haslanger and Roxanne Marie Kurtz (MA:MIT Press, 2006), 1-27

Mellor, Hugh D. “Selections from Real Time” Cambridge University Press. (1981). Persistance: Contemporary Readings, ed. Sally Haslanger and Roxanne Marie Kurtz (MA:MIT Press, 2006),233-240

Mellor, Hugh D “Real Time” Cambridge University Press: Cambridge. (1981)

Muiez, Albert M. O’Guinn, Thomas C. “Brand Community”

The Journal of Consumer Research. 27.4 (2001): 412-432.

Zimbalist, Kristina “Style & Design: Mike Jeffries, 61, CEO Abercrombie & Fitch” Time Magazine Online Edition. Fall 2005. http://www.time.com/time/2005/style/091305/mike_jeffries_61__ceo__27a. html

At 3 am I stare at my Twitter feeds with wide – opened eyes, amazed by the depth and continuous content of this platform. The 140 character limit really forces one to adopt a pithy style of writing. Sometimes, I’ll compose a tweet and notice how eliminating some unnecessary words can enhance the message. But what’s most impressive is how the streams are never ceasing – and in turn, this provides a window into each others consciousness and the contents of one’s interests. However the accuracy of that statement might come with some reservation – for some might schedule their tweets in advance; thereby keeping tweets in synch with their attitudes but out of sync with their own, first person stream of consciousness of that moment in time. However – does scheduling tweets alter the twitter experience for the audience? Not in the slightest. If anything, this ability enhances the experience. Yet tweets should be scheduled with great thought and care so one can interact with others in a seamless, non-scheduled manner.

Twitter is rewarding. I’ve met so many fascinating people via this platform. In fact, I like it better than Facebook. So much rich thought fits into 140 characters – and if more needs to be shared, simply insert a link. (i.e. this blog article;) In particular, Twitter is an excellent way for brands to reach out and see What matters to consumers and Why it matters to them. Moreover, this is a far-reaching proposition that should reach beyond one or two Social Media Managers of a Social Media Department. While a centralized twitter account is an excellent idea, the entire organization should get involved in creating, and sharing quality content. If this occurs, brands can truly do justice to the nature of Twitter – a 24/7 Ceaseless Stream of Consciousness and content!

One excellent brand on Twitter, who deserves special attention is Lululemon (@Lululemon) tweeting from Vancouver. 

One quick look at their stream we see:

- More @replies than anything else. This means Lululemon is engaging with particular individuals on twitter – versus only blasting spontaneous tweets about sales/promotions.

- Lululemon keeps their tweets, fresh and relevant – through links to Youtube, their site, and Facebook.

- It doesn’t just end on Twitter. Lululemon keeps the conversation open. For instance, if an individual requires more attention, @Lululemon provides an email address and/or phone number so the discussion can continue. This is very powerful and shows the brand truly cares.

@Lululemon intertwines other users/some brands/pictures in their tweets that speak to their audiences interests.

Lululemon isn’t the only brand doing an excellent job on Twitter. Starbucks is using Twitter as a way to interact with customers and if necessary, extend the discussion off Twitter and to email communication.

My favorite thing about twitter is that it’s constantly changing. Moreover, I like that it is not segmented in “cookie cutter” categories, which I think is one of the drawbacks of the new Google+. However, Lululemon is a culture built on a rich philosophy and engagement. As the brand expands, they should definitely experiment with new platforms such as Google+, since Google+’s “circles” feature is a way to create community among those with like-minded individuals. Google+ circles reduce the ambiguity of Facebook, where everyone is in the same pool as ‘friend’. For instance, a close group of friends who take part in a particular class might have their own “circle”.

Both Lululemon and Starbucks do an excellent job on social media, offering yet another way for these retailers to create connections with their customers. The interaction with the twittersphere is genuine, natural, and maintains a steadfast commitment to their brands.

Jesse de Agustin

@JdeAgustin 

Part 2 – Rebranding (If you have not read Part 1, I suggest you do so here) 

Summary: This is part 2 consisting of excerpts of my senior philosophy major thesis at The College of New Jersey that I wrote under the direction of Dr. Consuelo Preti. In part 1 I argued that the jointly necessary and sufficient conditions of a brand are much more vast than a logo. Additionally, I honed in on the subtle differences of a “brand experience” and [the mental state of] “experiencing a brand” through the accumulation of its identity conditions. 

It might be said that experience is the only necessary condition of a brand – however in a similar way that claiming that a brand is a product, this claim, too, is an oversimplification. The brand’s external onlookers (the audience) have experiences; yet this raises the question, “Experience of what?” The experiences are of external content such as product, environment, brand-mark, and logo that are placed together in a manner that provokes a particular experience.  In Real Time, Mellor (1981) argues that experiences are events since an experience is never isolated as one experience but rather we perceive a sequence or “succession” of experiences one after another. In a similar way, “a brand experience” is most accurately described as an “experience of various experiences.” The “brand experience” is an identity condition of the brand extended throughout time in the form of an “event” with temporal parts.

Part 2

Below I will discuss the above conditions of a brand and apply them to an example of a brand that has undergone brand change or ‘’rebranding.’’ I define rebranding as a deliberate attempt of a company to alter the identity conditions of a brand. If a brand is a temporally extended entity, analogous to a continuous “event” (as opposed to a ‘’thing’’) as Mellor argues, then “re-branding” is changing one or more “things” (spatially extended entities) within the “event” or temporally extended brand. However, if re-branding involves “brand change” of a type this leaves for some question – To what extent do the conditions have to change in order for a brand to be qualified as a “changed brand”? It also might be argued that the “changed brand” (a brand that has undergone “rebranding”) at T2 is actually just a different brand altogether.

Simply changing the logo and/or the brand-mark alone do not constitute a re-brand. In addition, keeping everything else the same and only changing the “name” does not constitute a rebrand. A brand has “re-branded” when there is, (1) a distinctive change in experience (2) Change in the audience that the brand intends to appeal to and (3) a change in the type of product that is offered.

Thinking about a brand in this way has large practical application. As I mentioned, most marketing literature isolates what is a “brand” to be marketing vessels behind products without considering other identity conditions. This leads to a segmented approach to brand strategy; of which might consist of considering the aforementioned conditions of a brand, however, by treating a brand as a unified entity composed of various identity conditions, then the strategy retains a holistic focus.

Brands change and update their logos along with visual identity in an attempt to remain modern and relevant to the audience, along with the environment. I will now review some typical modifications that might be proposed in an attempt to “re-brand” or change an existing brand.

Each criterion can be examined to see if changing one of them, or some of them, changes the brand. Changing the logo of Brand A at Time 1 is not a necessary condition to yield an entirely different brand at Time 2. This change does not yield Brand B; but can be argued to constitute an evolution of Brand A. In this case, Brand A is now a changed brand that has persisted. In particular this change of the visual properties perdure over time with the entire brand while other components of the brand endure. In a logo modification, a logo changes from one color to another for example when particular temporal parts of that design are one color or the other (Kurtz, 5). However, I think it can also be said that the logo/brand endure with the product. Moreover, the entire brand perdured, and the visual change that is also stretched across time will influence the audience’s interaction with the brand to varying degrees.

As I mentioned in a previous section, this experience need not be a subjective first person experience but rather the brand must modify all the components that are needed to produce a universal, centralized experience in the audience that is different from the experience at Brand 1. Another component that must be changed is audience. If a brand makes a few changes in sufficient conditions, for example the brand does change but this change is not a “re-brand”. When a brand targets a different audience, they have at least begun the start of re- branding. A re-branding effort does not have to mean the creation of a new brand. As I point out in the example section (Part 3…….), a “re-branded” brand at Time 1 is the same “brand” but an updated time slice of that brand at Time 1.

Jesse de Agustin

@JdeAgustin

Selected Works Cited:

Kurtz, Roxanne Marie. “Introduction to Persistence: What’s the problem?” Persistance: Contemporary Readings, ed. Sally Haslanger and Roxanne Marie Kurtz (MA:MIT Press, 2006), 1-27

Mellor, Hugh D. “Selections from Real Time” Cambridge University Press. (1981). Persistance: Contemporary Readings, ed. Sally Haslanger and Roxanne Marie Kurtz (MA:MIT Press, 2006),233-240

Mellor, Hugh D “Real Time” Cambridge University Press: Cambridge. (1981)

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