Branding reconstructed, further reading

This is a list of suggested further reading I made for my post-graduate  lecture series at the London College of Communication. Sorry, but I don’t have the time to add links to amazon today…

Semiotics, cultural theory and media studies

Barthes, Roland. Mythologies. New York: Vintage, 1993.
Barthes’ short passages are prototypical examples of a semiotic critique of culture. The distance between what he does and practical marketing may seem big, but hopefully our course demonstrated this is not the case.

Hall, Sean. This Means This, This Means That: A User’s Guide to Semiotics. London: Laurence King Publishers, 2007.
A lucid visual introduction to semiotics. Compromised of extremely concise essays, each opening with a question using signs and images, followed by a debate of possible answers introducing key semiotic concepts.

McLuhan, Marshal. Understanding Media. New York: Routledge, 2005.
It’s worth travelling beyond the more common text of “the medium is the message” to get better acquainted with McLuhan’s seminal work. He explores the ways we reinvent ourselves through our technologies and make them our extensions, mainly discussing media related technologies and their sociological and psychological implications. Marketing, being a communication based practice, makes these dense, abstract, ideas surprisingly relevant, if not useful.

Marketing & Branding, theory and practice

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“Brand strategy reconstructed”, a series of lectures at the London College of Communication

I’ve been invited to lecture at the LCC, one of London’s finest creative education institutes.
Starting next Monday, I’ll be giving a series of six lectures/talks (with view to extend them if it all goes well) to postgraduate students across the different disciplines. This adventure was sparked by prof. Ian Noble while collaborating with his “Graphic Branding & Identity” students on a Brandinstinct pro-bono project.

I’ve always rejected the myth of the suits/creatives split. Have always maintained a common language between marketing, design and other media is important and empowering to everyone involved. Hopefully, I can introduce some useful concepts and break some myths.

(And in case it doesn’t come through: OMG!!!!1! I’m so bloody psyched about this!)

Brand strategy reconstructed
How marketing lost the plot
and how it might find meaning again

Marketing is a discipline in crisis. For the last decades it has become evident to practitioners and scholars alike that many of the trusted old methods were just not cutting it any more. Worse, it now seems some of them weren’t valid in the first place. This series of contemplative talks brings together ideas from narrative studies, semiotics and cultural theory to drive design thinking in solving the challenges of postmodern marketing. Numerous examples will be given from actual projects, popular culture and recent marketing cases.

The first six talks:

1. Marketing, meaning & decadence: an introduction to the sophistication of marketing sign-systems and their tendency to degenerate.
2. Suspicious minds: the myth of “a consumer subject”.
3. On branding and meaning: can a simplified theoretical tool-box cut through buzzwords and hype?
4. Advanced narrative marketing: the untold story of brand stories.
5. Marketing plots: cultural pattern-recognition as a strategic tool.
6. Embracing the mess: how clients and agencies are changing their work culture and methods to encourage more sustainable marketing strategies.

Mondays@17:00, Starting May 18th, excluding 25/5 (bank holiday) and 8/6 (prior obligation).

To my non-UK readers: London College of Communication, formerly London College of Printing, is the largest constituent College of the University of the Arts London, Europe’s largest university dedicated to art, communication, design and related technologies.
Two graduates Israeli readers will know are David Tartakover & Alex Livak.

Things which are everywhere

Which way to go? (Rorschach Test Version) by Thomas Lieser Here are things that are everywhere according to Google. A side effect of working late on a talk about Marketing and meaning (like most of my talks are, as Life is always about something & meaning) taking place in Tel Aviv, this Tuesday, in Hebrew (otherwise it probably wouldn’t have been on Christmas eve):

Recovery, Java, Latency, Change, Art, RSS, Socialism, Elvis, Economics, Rotis, Analog, Location, Design, Snackr, Diversity, Violence, Prishtina, Enterprise search, Music, Elvis (again!), Prishtina (again), Matter (duh), The Pentagon (shiver), Elvis (lives!), Evolution, Ingrid Michaelson (lucky lady), Wildlife, Firefox, Elvis (never underestimate him ever again), Corruption.

End of page three, but it stays interesting.

There’s a web art installation waiting to happen here somewhere.

In the meantime – happy holidays and a happy new year.








(good night and good luck)

5 Principles for the Agency of the Future

Messiness by RI Pizzo This post is a "sound bite version" of a more elaborate piece, based on a talk titled "Emerging practices in Branding".

This blog has been dormant for a while, and I expect it will stay low frequency. I still hope this will get some attention, as it summarises so much of my work and thoughts of the last years. Not a very web-like time-scale, I guess…

On September 25th, I gave a talk at the Strategic Branding forum in Romania. I was asked to speak about "The Future of Branding". I used the opportunity to bring together some of Brandinstinct’s and my ideas about how branding should be practiced. This is stuff that has been dominant in the way my team(s) and me do things over the last couple of years. These are also trends I recognise increasingly among leading members of the creative industry.

The full article deals with 5 important aspects of branding work (methodology, relationship, culture, identity and engagement) and, "to put money where my mouth is", uses examples from some of the Brandinstinct projects I managed (From the projects used, the Sohar project is the only one I didn’t lead.). In this short version, I’ve left the examples out and focused on summarising the principles.

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Getting through: Communication, Communities & Marketing (presentation)

I thought of sharing this presentation a while ago, then realised its visual nature meant it will eat all my bandwidth even if only a couple of hundred people will watch it.

You can quickly flick through it on Slideshare, or if you want the fully annotated PPT file, get it from esnips.


Vincent’s photo by Calos Luis
This presentation was given as part of Tinylove’s distributor event in Koln (Cologne), Germany, September 2006.
It was not modified for the web or this blog. Only the annotations were made more elaborate so people can understand more or less how it went and what it tries to say.
The annotations is not the exact script. There isn’t one.

Some parts may seem obvious or too “educational” to some of you out there. If they are, I’m sorry, this was to help the audience follow the ideas.
Also, note that this is a “fun” presentation as the distributor event is largely an evening “recreational” event. To avoid being “the heavy bit”, I did my best to make this presentation light and engaging.
I still tried to bust some viral marketing myths along the way, which is a part some of you may wish to skip to.

Tinylove, are a client of mine who create meticulously designed developmental toys for babies. Their main target audience is parents, specifically “Generation-X parents”. The focus of my work with them was how to better reach this audience through the web. It covered their site, SEO/M, community marketing and more. The implementation of those recommendations is currently still a work in progress and is, obviously, much wider and deeper then the aspects mentioned in this presentation.
Their blog is here.If this presentation is absolutely useless to you, maybe it be can useful to someone you know. Or – at least you may enjoy the work of the talented flickr photographers used to make it.

Anyway – enjoy the show.

CC (on the textual content only) – some rights reserved.

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