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Beyond Branding is written by members of The Medinge Group

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October 13, 2004

outsourcing - a beyond branding subject 

I accidentally participated in a confernce which had a section on outsourcing yetserday. The very inhuman process perspective taken by gurus of outsoucing convinced me this is a human relationhip trust issue that urgently needs connecting with Beyound Branding's leadership scope. If interested please contect me at or blog below

To clarify more on why questions about outsourcing fascinate me and should be one of the big democratic debates of our time

If we take a worldwide map of making the most of the productivities and needs of 6 billion people, then of course we should help connect the disconnected by matching work where its cabilities are most sustainable from every different persective of developing value over time. That's part of what can make a networked world completely different in progressing the human condition.

But it is also abundantly clear that many corporations make a blindingly stupid mistake (one which as makes clear arises from having no systemically true measures of most of the value you compound). The leadership mistake is to separate the business case as if outsourcing is separate from everything else the company connects, and furethermore to do so in ways that show such disregard for human relationships that sensible people would feel that organsiation isnt worth trusting so much in the future. One of the biggest disconnecting mistakes a corporation can make with its own idenetity (and future relationship permissions) is in believing that marketing is an image thing we just pump advertising in rather than a realty thing. Global accountants must take a lot of blame/credit for this error because they were the ones who licensed out brand valuation as a number that goes up or down primarily on how much ab dugdet is spent.

True value appreciation models of marketing/branding show that any large corporation always needs the trust of some societies, otherwise it develops a fortress mentality of us against the world (and spins badwill until it is utterly worhless). So those societies where an organsiation has traditionally employed the most people, need evolving with great care (and not a 90 day fix) if a company really has to embark on major outsorcing. I would love to benchmark some cases where local societies believe a corporation did do outsourcing withy as much care for all involved as possible. And if politicians were to fully grasp this nettle they would be using media etc to encourage such a hunt and develop a transparent understanding of this globalisation issue from all sides.

human KM of outsourcing
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October 09, 2004

a kerry at hand is worth 200 million in the bush 

Please tell us bookmarks to debate reviews that Agree (or Disagree) A1

Meanwhile a straw poll three months ago amongst beyond branders rated America's nation brand worldwide outside USA as only having 55% of the relationship value of 1999 -perhaps we were being a tad generous?
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October 08, 2004

Spot the brand? 

The 'BlackSpot' is coming...

Blackspot sneakers are finally in production, the first product brainchild of the 14 year-old adbusters anticorporation.
They will hit the UK by December.

Blackspot positions itself as an anti-brand, from an anticorporation: it offers fair labour; sustainable materials and hand-drawn logos - and aims to kick Nike CEO Phil Knight's arse.

A curse on all brands.

In some ways the idea of an 'antibrand' is just as flawed as Kevin Robert's 'Lovemarks' conceit.

On the surface, Blackspot is just offering ethical folk a means of self-identification, and identification is what brands do. A small community of people created an idea, and asked others to buy into it. That's what companies do.

However, dig a little deeper, and underlying both is the same insight, that brands must come to stand for what they are, not just what they say.

Like ROMP, blackspot offers customers a chance to buy the change they want to see in the world. More interesting is the fact that Blackspot built its order book before finding production, and is using mutualist principles to build a community, united in a rejection of branding.

Just like the beyond branding crew, Lasn has successfully critiqued the process of branding, but not the existence or power of brands. Brands are just shards of reality. You can choose to build a stained glass window, or you choose to stab people..

Blackspot is successfully turning the ostensive mechanisms of capitalism to promote mutualism instead.

As a purchaser of a pair of blackspots, I have also a shareholder in the company, which promises to operate like a actively engage its customers as a community, to determine future strategy and direction.

I really hope it can live up to this bold vision and the early signs are good.

Blackspot explicitly offers its users the power to shape the brand as they wish. It is a logical next step along the Steal This Brand pathway.

The next step for blackspot would be to grant its suppliers voting-shares too and embrace real brand democracy...

Hang on You steal my sub-brand : blackspot. Appears in Chapter 1 of Brand Chartering Handbook, and is due for a reappearance in next book MAP!  
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what queen Juliana knew in 1950s, that global accountants & brand valuation forgot in 80s 

Over at this thread on trust, I found this lovely quote attributed to the late Queen Juliana gave to a UN conference, some time in the 1950's:
“It starts with goodwill, which leads to understanding. From understanding of each other we develop trust, and trust is the foundation of co-operation.”

This is an absolutely critical quote because before spreadsheets and global accountants cane along, leaders used to know that goodwill was sytemic to the human realtionship context that their organsiations developed over time. (If you want an interview my father ans I did with Sir Adrian Cadbury in 1989 on this issue of corporate goverenance, send me your snailmail; I'll post you the filofax card we published)

In fact, intangibles were a synonym for goodwill meaning impossible to measure separately the way tangibles can. But then the global accountants cheated with the English language. They started splitting intangibles bidding off valuation algorithms to whichever professional sector wanted to make a business case their way- I know because that started with brand, something I have researched in more countries and written about in more books and academic papers than just about anyone. Then it moved on across some of the other terms in the centre of the map (2nd picture from the left). This is why -measures of all the intellectual, human and socila capitals which ultimately provide a separate number have fallen for the global accountant's vain attempt to retain a monopoly rule over the boardroom's measurements, instead of knowing what queen Juliana did in the 1950s. Dont separate intangibles with addition (the mathematic operation of separation). Map them as a systemic whole with value multiplication, knowing thyat will mean governing with a second auditing system of the sort that global accountants have proven mathematically opposed to serving.
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