Seth Godin joins in the debate on branding's death.
1. The data is irrefutable. The number of massive mega brands and their value (in terms of the premium consumers are willing to pay) is shrinking, and fast. You can't get as much extra for a Sony DVD player or a Marlboro cigarette as you used to.That's a pretty good summary.
2. The number of new micro-brands is exploding. Hugh (see gaving void above) is a brand now. If we define brand as a shortcut for a set of commercial attributes, emotions, stories, whatever, then any blogger with a following has a brand.
3. There's a difference between brands and branding. Brands exist whether you want them to or not. Brands aren't going to go away any time soon. Brands are a useful shorthand for a complicated asset within an organization. Branding, on the other hand, is a thing you do. And as an activity, branding is problematic. Branding is ill-defined, usually vacuous, often expensive and totally unpredictable. I'm happy to say that you shouldn't grow up to be someone who does branding.