I have been busily working away on a book on branding ... finally, early 2010 it has seen the light of day. The moral of the 300-something pages long story?
Brands are a fait accompli: they represent a mountain range of evidence in search of a theory. They are much exploited, but little explored. This book sets out to rectify the ratio between exploiting and exploring through sketching out a theory of the Brand Society. Most attempts to explain the role of brands focus on brands either as marketing and management tools (business perspective) or as symptoms of consumerism (sociological perspective). Brand Society combines these perspectives to show how brands have the power to transform both the organizations that develop them and the lifestyles of the individuals who consume them. This holistic approach shows how brands function as a medium between producers and consumers in a way that is rapidly transforming our economy and society. That’s the bottom line of the Brand Society: brands are a new way of organizing production and managing consumption. Using an array of practical case studies from a diverse set of organizations, the book provides a fascinating account of the way in which brands influence the lives of individuals and the organizations they work in.
Praise for Brand Society
‘What a relief. … An intelligent, well-informed book from someone who understands that brands and branding are intrinsic to the human condition …. This is a refreshing and thoughtful change from the usual academic debates around brand. … Kornberger is a clever, cultivated man who writes well. What else can you reasonably ask for?’
Wally Olins, Market Leader September 2010
‘This is a stupendous piece of work. It’s both academic and pragmatic. It ranges from forbidding high theory to easy-reading case studies. It’s great. Without question, it’ll go down as a landmark study of brands and branding.’
Stephen Brown, Professor of Marketing Research, University of Ulster
‘This book provides fascinating insight in the tremendous value of well-managed brand transformation programs. It leaves no stone unturned and covers in a very balanced way the diversity of both the internal cultural aspects and the external brand community building. Great food for innovative brand thinking and for concrete brand activation!’
Ruud Polet, Global Brand Marketing Manager, ING
‘In Brand Society Martin Kornberger takes you on a compelling ride through the new landscape of branding. From the clothes we wear, to the companies we work for and the society we live in – this exciting book argues the importance of branding and why we should care. From evocative cases and bold conceptual arguments, Kornberger makes the point that consumption and production of brands are intertwined and shows how this transforms the way brands are being consumed and produced. This book leaves food for thought for both brand aficionados and those with a stake in creating or analyzing brands.’
Majken Schultz, Professor, Copenhagen Business School, and co-author of Taking Brand Initiative
‘Max Weber argued that modernity was a process of disenchantment; on the contrary, argues Kornberger, in this evocative and important study: modernity is a realm of continuous re-enchantment. At the centre of the enchanted webs spun in modernity is the brand – and the Brand Society – explored through a rich collage of philosophy and social science, a virtual anthropology of the organized seduction of our being, as Jonathan Richman said, in love with the modern world.’
Stewart Clegg, Professor, University of Technology, Sydney.
‘Rethinking brands means rethinking marketing, reconsidering the implications of organizational culture and organizational identity, displacing the usual assumptions about the relationship between production and consumption – in short turning many of your major preconceptions about economic life and society inside out. Kornberger offers a glorious, thought-provoking creating ride – from branding a city in Scotland to quotations from esoteric philosophers to Cubism and Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt. Buckle up and enjoy the ride.’
Joanne Martin, Fred H. Merrill Professor of Organizational Behavior, Emerita, Graduate School of Business, Stanford University
“’Brand’ and ’branding’ are two of the most overused but least considered terms in the lexicon of management, as well as in the contemporary human and social sciences. In this articulate and subtle book, at once both introduction and original contribution, Martin Kornberger offers a refreshingly engaging analysis of these key terms – one that never slips into shallow oversimplification or theoretical cliché. This book will engage students while striking all the right sparks amongst their teachers – a not inconsiderable achievement.”
Paul du Gay, Professor, Copenhagen Business School
'Martin Kornberger's book provides a thorough and balanced approach to the role of brands in society. It is well-researched and well-reasoned with great examples. Kornberger has done his homework, reading deep and wide, while speaking to an impressive array of practitioners. This book will doubtlessly provoke much-needed debate on the topic.'
Albert Muniz, Associate Professor of Marketing, DePaul University, Chicago