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The overlaps between marketing and capitalism are apparent. Branding is a philosophy that came on much later. Where does branding fit into the capitalistic markets?
Almost every type, form, and medium of art that has sustained generations have had parallels that were seen without any social, cultural, or geographical exceptions and boundaries. The same has happened in the world of business, generally known as the market. The world adopted capitalism and soon after the wars and industrial revolution, marketing was also a part of our existence in the civil society.
Marketing and advertising were successful enough to blur the fine lines between what we need and what we want. From informing people about what product you were selling, it became about how better it is, compared to everyone else who is also selling the same product. Exaggeration made its way and now businesses have become powerful enough by inventing ways to influence the decisions of the consumer, not just in your favor but to make a purchase of what they might not even need. We have cults and even brand fetishism in today’s market.
Propaganda or not, we talked about advertising. But what about branding? Branding was developed much later, with a lot of markets already there, and a very mature idea of what business is, what an organization is. In fact, there is a chance that it developed because the effects of the bombardment of marketing communication and advertisement reached the point of saturation and people started judging a product by trying to know more about why they are making it. Maybe the development of the concept of branding was more organic. Maybe that is my bias talking.
But what we definitely know is that capitalism can’t be an organic system. There is a difference between evolution and development. The formation of markets was not a creation of nature. Businesses and organizations don’t have minds of their own. Their brains consist of decision-makers. Companies are a collection of human activities, decisions, guidelines, rules, predictions, consequences, and significantly- incentives. These are aspects that are malleable by said humans based on their will. Structural forces are behind the rise and fall of everything- small businesses to entire economies.
Let’s look at the problem capitalism is solving. It is more about getting people what they want and need. The marketplace makes it possible. It has everything you want and need. This marketplace is hyper-alert to catch the desire and provides you an instant solution to that desire. But the marketplace is not backed by a balanced system. It is not wise. It is short-sighted, almost blind to everything but your material want. It has no overarching goal. It is made of people making selfish decisions with disregard for the long-term and non-monetary consequences of their actions.
An entirely capitalistic society is bound to devolve (like it has) to enable corruption, predatory pricing, bribery and leads to indifference to its other side-effects like over-burdening and over-extraction from natural resources, pollution of the environment, damage to overall health, both mental and physical, and will also create greater divides of all kinds.
What stops humans from making bad decisions in their personal lives? Their values, beliefs, and experience of life so far that hopefully results in some form of empathy. Companies, however, are infamous to value nothing but money. Branding is a concept that forces the company to think beyond sales, and have a value-backed vision and mission to move forward.
Undergoing the branding process, any organization will realize it’s boundaries, form guardrails to help make better decisions and stay relevant for a long time with a future; a successful, optimistic future in mind.
Change happens when it is adapted collectively, but it begins at home. Economies will be shaped by companies and companies will be shaped by individuals. Our markets and workplaces have evolved to be more flexible with what type of talent they need to hire. We have already passed the preconditions for a lot of technological and infrastructural needs that help us thrive, to have a medium to create, put across, and even learn. As Taylor Pearson rightly points, “The technology of the piano allowed Mozart to thrive. The technology of written language was a precondition for every writer you’ve ever admired. The invention of the sport, the precondition for every athlete. The invention of capitalism, the precondition for every entrepreneur.
As technology progresses, we are moving towards a world where increasingly everyone can find a position of excellence tailored just for them.”
Now, the evolution will be more at a visceral level. Again, why are we doing what we are doing apart from the motivation of making a living? Is it making you happier? Making you feel content and satisfied? Are you at the epicenter of any change that you believe is needed?
“Capitalism rewards things that are both rare and valuable. You make yourself rare by combining two or more ‘pretty goods’ until no one else has your mix…” is an excerpt that applies here, from a career advice blog piece by Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert.
To visualize an aspect of capitalism, know the fact that from the pipe to everything flowing through it, almost everything is produced by one company in India today- Reliance.
Reliance is also channeling its inner capitalism and buying companies left right and center to what the economists call, become the Facebook of India. Another Western concept on its way to the East.
But then again, isn’t branding itself a Western concept? exploring its Eastern influence is an article for another day.
— by Manas, Content Strategist, Slangbusters Studio