Beyond Branding

Home page
The book
The authors
Contact us
Beyond Branding is written by members of The Medinge Group

The Beyond Branding blog

April 29, 2004

will we refdiscover an age when marketing comes back to earth as a relevant form of human communications? 

Extract from Brian Alger's extraordinary moving blog, corresponding in part with a John Moore stimulus

Yesterday I was at yet another physiotherapy session (I had an ACL reconstruction done on my knee last October and, yes, I'm still going twice/week). But this isn't important. During my workout I started up a conversation with a fellow that I had seen from time to time, but never really took spoke to in any detail. So, keeping with the tradition of the culture of physiotherapy, I provided the most common opening line, "You here for ACL as well?" His answer was startling and resulted in a long conversation which, to my physiotherapist's chagrin, cut short my workout.

"I nearly lost my life," Ron responded, "and I can only thank God that I am still here."

In June of 2003 Ron was prescribed Lipitor by his doctor and had an extreme adverse reaction to it that destroyed the nerves and muscle tissues in his legs. For the next half hour we traveled through his story about how his body began an extremely painful deterioration, how his doctor failed to take his numerous requests for help seriously, how doctors fail to spend quality time with their patients and are pushing pills on people without having the proper expertise to do so, his morphine-enhanced twelve-day stay in the hospital after admitting himself through emergency, and his personal research into the potential life-threatening affects of Lipitor. He hopes to return to work in October of 2004 and requires an intense physio program to rebuild his leg muscles and repair as much as possible the nerves. Quite literally, he has to learn to walk again.

My own trials with ACL reconstruction seemed a humerous aside now. "The whole experience caused me to think about my life," he went on to say. The things he was thankful for, but perhaps had not paid enough attention to while healthy, came into clear view - his wife, his children, his family, his friends. He never once spoke about his career unless I lead him in that direction. I began reflecting on my own life, and although I have not had a near death experience, there have been unsettled times in my life when I felt as if I was floating aimlessly out to sea.

Ron's thinking had a sense of power about it. I could see that as he spoke, there were definite physiological affects on his emotions. This is a sign of pure sincerity in a conversation - the absence of manipulation. I've often wondered why it takes a near death experience or some kind of tragedy in life for people to get back to what is most important in their lives. The possiblity of death seems to have a way of purifying the life we have. But Ron was not just thinking and relfecting on his experience, he was also living and feeling life differently (action). His thinking was not something separate from his action; his actions were not separate from his thinking - there is an essential unity in his story. I look forward to seeing him again tomorrow.

What has this got to do with marketing? Everything.

Under the power of networks, the days of trite slogans, cute logos and superificial advertising are over. In a networked society, a brand is a kind of network, and a network is inspired by quality conversations between people. The notion of copywriters sitting and coming up with various kinds of tag lines, etc., will implode - they simply won't be needed as much. For one thing, a quality conversation will effectively nullify superficial marketing and advertising techniques. And the brand will not flow through a hierarchy(i.e. - corporate structure through to public awareness), but through networks (i.e. - many to many). People, consumers, will learn about products and services via networked learning environments and their thoughts and actions will irrevocably become part of the brand identity..

John's point that marketing people must generate conversations involves a fundamental shift (re-distribution) of power, and will serve to bring marketers and advertisers into much closer proximity with the living and breathing human beings that buy their products and services. If the power of knowledge is in sharing, then consumers will do as much, and perhaps more, of the sharing than marketers can ever hope to. Marketers will need to develop new skill sets that make them expert at facilitating quality conversations.

It remains to be seen whether or not Pfizer will step up to the plate and have a "quality conversation" around Lipitor. Obviously the product can cause great damage, and even death. It still baffles me that school systems have no serious content to teach students around the issues of prescription medications. We all need expertise with respect to our health and the industries that surround it. We need to begin preparing students and helping adults engage in this much needed conversation, not as some kind of attack on the pharmaceutical industry, but to develop a more equitable sense of thought and action. I hear too many people talking about "pill-pushing" doctors.

I'm not one for forecasting, but it seems reasonable to consider the possibility that brands and marketing will, out of necessity, evolve toward becoming network learning environments in which "conversations of great quality" form the essence of the brand image. Not only will marketing people need to reflect on how they are conversing with consumers, but the consumers themselves will become at least an equal partner in the conversation.
Comments: Post a Comment
Links to this post

April 26, 2004

Save the Brand
article suggests 2/3 of americans feel abused by advertising

This may be a good time to reiterate the main thrust of this cooperative. For 15 years, many of us have opposed brand valuation as little more than a number dreamed up be 2 professions addicted to their powers: accountants and ad agents. Thus there are 2 kinds of worldwide brand experts: those who believe brand begins and ends with billions of ad and communications budget. Those who believe brand is a system connecting hundreds of ways in which an organisation behaves, of which its image messaging is one of the least, because over time the most this can do is amplify the speed at which your goodwill or badwill spins. There is no more deeply connected group of type 2 experts on brand as systems of true relationship connections. We are also the open source of the maths of how intangible systems value multiply and truly make the Future Measurable (this is mappable because a system is already compounding what's been stored up by its investements and relationships)

The space for reality-branding is now so huge that there isn't a market leader in the world of type 1 branding that isnt there for dethroning. Before your grand disappears like a cheshire cat with SARS, talk to us, if you want to save the brand and your identity and your permissions to innovate, and enjoy making the world a more human place. chris
Comments: Post a Comment
Links to this post

April 23, 2004


Over 75% of the way value goes round in a networked world is exchanged in ways that are mathematically the opposite to the ways organisational measurements are currently made

This is the biggest opening of markets branders will ever experience (in my life time anyway). Anyone who has ever positioned anything knows that open is wonderfully easy to launch into, where closed is very costly or impossible

These new openings are being discussed all over London as the First Intangibles Cooperating Capital. You can find out where here

Moreover since London wants to stay in the top 5 intangibles cooperating capitals , we look forward to exchnaging news on where in your locality such practice benchmarking and co-creatinvity is opening space.
Comments: Post a Comment
Links to this post

April 22, 2004

Coca-Cola's worst song , and this is the world's number 1 brand? 

Has Coca-Cola ever been destroying its goodwill with American youth faster than now. I've been noting rumors on the net mounting for several months now, but rumors are rumors. But then this is part of the description of what happened at its annual shareholders meeting earlier in the week
The charges about the company's Colombia operations were raised in 2001 when the International Labor Rights Fund sued in U.S. District Court in Miami on behalf of a murdered worker at Coca-Cola's Panamco bottling plant. The suit claimed the Coca-Cola did nothing to stop paramilitary groups' sometimes violent intimidation, and even murder, of Coca-Cola's bottling workers who were interested in unionizing.

The judge in the case ruled that Coca-Cola did not have sufficient control over its bottling plants to be liable in the case, and dismissed the company as a defendant. The labor rights group filed an amended complaint on Monday, again naming Coca-Cola, since it bought the Colombia bottling plant last May.

But it was yesterday that the issue really came into public view.

The annual meeting started with the typical introductory remarks from Daft, including the news that Coca-Cola made $1.13 billion, or 46 cents a share, in first quarter -- the first time the company has ever reported a quarterly profit of more than $1 billion.

When he opened the floor to shareholders, anti-Coca-Cola activist Ray Rogers was first to the microphone and he raised the situation in Colombia.

"All the evidence shows the Coca-Cola system is rife with immorality, corruption and complicity in gross human rights violations," he said, according to the company's webcast of the meeting. He accused Daft of lying and continued for several minutes, even after being asked to step aside.

Then, his microphone was shut off and hotel security personnel removed him from the room, although Coca-Cola executives were heard asking security to "stand down."

After Rogers was hauled off, Daft turned to another executive on the dais and muttered, "We shouldn't have done that." But it wasn't over. Other activists later took the floor on the same issue. Students from New York University and Rutgers University made claims similar to Rogers's, if more quietly.

Comments: Post a Comment
Links to this post

April 16, 2004

If only we could play musical chairs with essences of place governments 

Remembering the only reason why the UN and the EU were given permission to launch was to help systemise peace all over the world, I would begin by moving half of the EU to the UN's site in New York and half of the UN to Brussels

The big question would be what to do with the other halfs; I think I would relocate them to the land that Israel now says it wont return to Palestinne building the headquarters of the 21st C UN there- that would be good for the local economy, for the political souls and for thence for the peoples. A silicon tower for open goverment and diversely deep democracies and cultures

Meanwhile Europeans could probably do with downsizing the local law-scripting powers of the EU by 99% so we could get back to celebrating our diversity whilst opening up a free market with such simple and transparenct rules that a 10 year old could understand, as well as pay 10% less in taxes at a stroke

After round 1, I confidently predict that a round 2 could imagine a 2 year secondment of the folks in the White House to Moscow, the folks in the Kremlin to Peking, and the folks in Peking to DC. And all the world's people would have reason for 3 cheers

The human attractions/authenticity of this all are so obvious that there must be a reason why developing all this movement and dialogue space would be a blindingly wrong way to lead. Still our human race never will understand potential concepts of one world identity and essence without someone suggesting a conversation in fool's mode. I look forward to hearing your most spirited ideas on helping the world to dance tunes all people could love. I am sure that if Robert Woodruffe's soul had been alive today he would have been rehearsing the world's biggest conversations through the mediation co-creativities that the open architectural permissions of the world's number 1 global brand affords. And then part 2 of the dcumentary could show that once a lifetime the sequel can be even more inspirational for humanity than the first real thing.

chris uk 0793 144 2446
Comments: Post a Comment
Links to this post

April 12, 2004

THE CO-LAUNCH : Auditing a Global Brand’s Crossroads Between Heaven & Hell 

Embargo to Easter Sunday 2004, London UK & Washington DC

1) History of Brand Heaven & Hell
2000 Colloquium on Global Branding @ Georgetown University:
As one of the few practitioners among 40 leading academics on branding, I was assigned the talk of explaining why CEOs should take Naomi Klein’s NoLogo seriously.

What collectively I checked consensus on was:
-Global communications are a huge systemic power that like any power can be used for good or ill
-That brand valuation, and all accounting measurements of intangibles, were mathematically wrong in the sense that a boardroom could not know from these measures whether its relationship systems was compounding goodwill or badwill

What personal experiences have taught me in the 1990s as global brand architect at a big 5 management consultancy & a big 3 communications agency:
Occasionally a company is blessed with a new CEO who wants to transform the organisation to be humanly better in every way. That apart the only time I have seen big consultancy teams offer systemic brand transformation is when the client was the first to admit they had reached a heaven & hell crossroads. This is the critical junction where they can see that continuing business relationships as usual will destroy all of the company’s stakeholder integrity, and there is facilitation readiness all round the organisation to confront the crisis and conceive of a transformation of trust which could lead us back to all stakeholders' heaven.

Global Branding Colloquium Conclusion: We can deduce from the intangibles valuation crisis and what Klein shows us of the coming corporate communications responsibility crisis that auditing a global brand’s heaven/hell crossroads is the most vital communications service big corporations don’t know they need. However, as of 2000 I wouldn’t know how to launch such a service professionally – would anyone here see how?

2) Today’s status on Brand Heaven & Hell

Open Research over recent years stimulated my members of BB and Medinge has worked hard to earn the trust both of brand owners and corporate responsibility movements (eg Total Brand Corporate Responsibility Journal). At the same time we have developed the open source code for mapping whether a company’s intangibles are spinning goodwill (value growth) of badwill (value destruction). Value Multiplication can now model what will happen next from a company’s “Intangible Quality System” of relationships of productivities and demands. Meanwhile the social networks of globalisation reformers (eg be the change, simpol (Simultaneous Policy Movements), open space transformation communities) are taking on newly coordinated forms which change every global corporation’s risk of transparency spotlighting gaps between a brand’s promises and its delivery of trusts.

Expert teams invited from Medinge & BB alumni can respond to any global corporation’s request for an audit of its brand’s heaven and hell crossroads. In parallel, where responsibility issue networks ask for our assistance, we can form teams of experts who have never worked in those client sectors but have the capability to pinpoint precisely how to amplify the essence of any irresponsible brand’s illwill. Absent of a joint intervention, value multiplication’s law demonstrated conclusively by Andersen is if society ever values an organisation as zero, billions of business value times zero social value =0. Corporate strategic thinking, monopolised by accounting’s measurement rules based on the additive operand of separability, has effectively become the globally branded company’s passport to hell.

All queries about co-launch of Global Brands in Heaven & Hell welcome. Chris Macrae, uk mobile 0793 144 2446
Comments: Post a Comment
Links to this post

April 10, 2004

Story of the Decade? 

The more I see of Bakar's and Achbar's The Corporation, the more it feels like the catalyst of the decade.

Unlike No Logo and other stuff emerging from that surprisingly revolutionary country Canada, the corporation's scripts come from a legal scholar Joel Bakan. When he points out the difficulty with democratic constitutions is they apply to governments not the corporation that has become the dominant world power, we should ponder. What comes next we people ask: as Joel develops the idea that the corporation, deemed by law to be a person, has a psychopathic personality, a danger when also wielding so much power.

The trailer of the film of the book is making waves. See the memo of a news Baron (not from CNN): "we paid 3 billion there so that the news is what we say it is." Run with that, and it becomes clear that one of America's national disadvantages is not having a strong public sector broadcaster. Of course this makes the battle in the UK between the BBC and the government all the more intresting. We the people pay you the BBC to keep the airwaves open against the bias of politicians and of corporates. This web's experts could give you for free many concepts and partner links for doing that. Let's hope the new governors know how to pass transparency's grade. Of course you could make my Easter and buy up the tv rights to show The Corporation sooner rather than later. We can be sure that The Corporation is like that Apple's most famous ad of the Orwellian world that an IBM monopoly of computers would bring- only paid for one showing but seen by everyone

Watch this space as the world outside of Canada's prayer that everyone gets a chance to discuss The Constituition of The Corporation.

chris macrae @Amazon,,@Simpol,,@Transparency Maps
Comments: Post a Comment
Links to this post

April 09, 2004

Prissy CNN's campaign to stop 12 year olds yawning 

Comments: Post a Comment
Links to this post

April 08, 2004

Fun Tours for Easter 

If you could ask someone to go on a 10 minute virtual tour with you for Easter, where would you click. Here's the suggested tour of - we welcome your reciprocal answers if we can co-publish those we feel communal affinity with

1.Win-Win Pattern Rule thread at EU
April 7:When is the most NIP (Networked Important Person) the same or different as the most powerful person in the organisation? - where nobody knows, management is taking one hell of a risk with the organisation's valuation- sufficient that any stakeholder should ask themselves whether they should be checking out

As we map it, each person builds a cluster with one deep gravity multiplying valued relationships for action learning - tell us yours

3. Thousands of netizens signed the Manifesto
Tell us if you sight a greater manifesto on the web- we look forward to linking it here

4.Have you open space today? 1,,,,

5. Various theories of Trust's dynamics and human value in a networking age.1,,2,,

6. On Love. 1,, ,,
Comments: Post a Comment
Links to this post

April 02, 2004

a golden oldie 

This is from Oct 2000 weblog of Doc Searls on why ebay shouldnt become an ad-based business model, but in BB terms its as clear as we marketing vets can get

I worked in advertising for much of my adult life, and I must tell you a dirty secret problem the whole industry would rather not face: there is no demand for messages.

The advertising business, which includes the commercial media, doesn't want to face the fact that their "audiences" would never pay for advertising's goods. Even the term "audience" is a delusional metaphorical conceit. Book a theater to show nothing but advertising and see who shows up, even if it's free.

The "targets" advertising seeks to "impact" and "penetrate" with "campaigns" that "deliver messages" is tired of being attacked. Their lack of demand for advertising's ordnance is a brutal reality that the advertising industry cannot bear to confront.

In fact, "absence" doesn't begin to cover the kind of non-demand we're talking about here. If demand could be metered, most advertising would peg to the negative.

For evidence, let's ask the most awful question commercial television could possibly hear: What would happen if MUTE buttons on TV remote controls delivered "we don't want to hear this" messages directly to the advertisers who pay for commercial television? Advertising as we know it would be dead in a day.$337

PS regarding Toyota- actually in my book its always been a very obvious case of living the brand; it is said its American factory can produce a million different car designs at less cost and higher quality than many american manufacturers can produce 1000 different options. Reason is its makes customisation interesting work for those in the plant, so the cases I've read up benchmark
Comments: Post a Comment
Links to this post

April 01, 2004

Conversations at Toyota 

A colleague sent me these excerpts from a 1992 book, Ideas Are Free.

Makes one wonder why Toyota is the world's number two (or number three depending on whom you'd like to believe).
   The brand has quietly built itself up, right down to the paternalistic culture. It doesn't shout about its CSR programmes, but cares enough about the environment to put out not one, but two electric–petrol hybrids this year. It's not an obvious choice for us to talk about, but certainly it already has plenty of consumer votes.
   My only question is concerning what its record was like between 1933 and 1945 but certainly in the post-war era, Toyota has given us a lot of lessons.
Comments: Post a Comment
Links to this post


Authors’ and associates’ individual blogs

  • Johnnie Moore’s Weblog
  • Steal This Brand
  • Jack Yan: The Persuader Blog
  • Right Side up
  • Chris Lawer
  • Ton Zijlstra
  • Headshift
  • Partum Intelligendo
  • Goiaba Brazilian Music
  • Detective Marketing
  • Chris Macrae

  • + Add Beyond Branding to your Blogroll

    Add feeds

    Aggregated blogs


    Old Beyond Branding blog entries

    Add feed to Bloglines
    Add feed to Newsgator
    Add feed to My Yahoo!

    RSS feed from 2RSS

    This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

    Get this blog via email

    Enter your email

    Powered by FeedBlitz


    Previous posts

  • New feeds for the Beyond Branding Blog
  • Breaking Views Headlines: Feb 1 The urgency of ena...
  • Peace be unto those who brand the networks of Mess...
  • Brainjams & Web2.1
  • New Year, new Beyond Branding Blog
  • World Class Brand Network- Open Source Resources
  • 1984 timeline for milennium 3 by Norman & Chris Ma...
  • seeing the 21st century from different dates and s...
  • 1-2-3 Entrepreneurial Revolution & Brand Economy L...
  • 1-2-3 Entrepreneurial Revolution & Brand Economy L...
  • Archives

  • August 2003
  • September 2003
  • October 2003
  • November 2003
  • December 2003
  • January 2004
  • February 2004
  • March 2004
  • April 2004
  • May 2004
  • June 2004
  • July 2004
  • August 2004
  • September 2004
  • October 2004
  • November 2004
  • December 2004
  • January 2005
  • February 2005
  • March 2005
  • April 2005
  • May 2005
  • June 2005
  • July 2005
  • August 2005
  • September 2005
  • October 2005
  • November 2005
  • December 2005
  • January 2006
  • February 2006
  • Beyond Branding bloggers

    Chris Lawer UK
    Chris Macrae UK/US
    Jack Yan New Zealand
    John Caswell UK
    Johnnie Moore UK
    Malcolm Allan UK
    Nicholas Ind Norway
    Simon Anholt UK
    Stanley Moss USA
    Thomas Gad Sweden
    Tim Kitchin UK


    Webfeed (RSS/ATOM/RDF) registered at

    Listed on BlogShares
    Top of the British Blogs
    Blog Flux Directory

    Business Blog Top Sites

    Feed Digest