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April 11, 2005



I too saw Safire's article and was intrigued. The process of "unbranding" is important -definitely from a customer perspective and especially from an employee perspective. When I left my last company - a company I loved dearly and helped build - and we were such brand maniacs for the first five years - I needed to "de-oskarize" is what I called it in order to get a hold of what it was like not to be affiliated with that brand.

So "de - name of company or brand -ize."

john winsor

Thanks, Regina. I like that.

Johnnie Moore

John, I've been in discussions like this for several years and I think my conclusion is, basically, No.

No, there's no point trying to replace brand with some other word because that word too will simply give rise to a range of new understandings or misunderstandings, probably not much different from the ones that "brand" generates.

The exercise itself tends to mire us in abstractions. And also - as I've said before - I think it tends to perpetuate the idea that we can use language to control the meaning people make out of words. Pretty much the fallacy of much so-called "branding" out there.

I think it would be better to get into the habit of plainer speaking about companies and brands that don't live up to expectations.

john winsor

Johnnie, I love it! I agree that energy needs to be put in the right place, behind the words we use, to encourage the adjustment of the social lens that perpetuates the illusion of control, from the top-down. Instead, realizing that only from engaging with one's community, from the bottom-up, can a company get beyond the word brand and have a deeper, more profitable relationship with their customers.

Adrian Trenholm

While I agree with Johnnie that finding then hyping a new word for brand is instrinsically a bad idea, I couldn't stop a brand-replacement bubbling to the top of my mind.

The word I came up with is dye. As in dyed in the wool.

Just like brand, dye can be permanent, but unlike brand, with its connotations of surface stamp, dye is all about total impregnation of the cloth to which it is applied. Instead of branding themselves, companies might think about dying their markets.

Of course that again raises the problem of "control" which Johnnie is right to point out. But perhaps we could imagine marketing where companies provide the dye stuff and customers apply it. I do like the idea of a company and its customers swirling around in a dye bath together...

Errol Saldanha

‘Brand’ and ‘branding’ are just words — they cannot be held responsible for over-marketing by corporations or consultants (what William is really reacting to).

If we “cool off” on uses of the word ‘brand’, what single term do we replace it with? I have spent countless hours researching and I could not find anything better. It is too easy to suggest that ‘brand’ is a bad word — a lot harder to find a replacement and even harder to properly define it (which is where we should focus our energy).

The terms ‘brand’ and ‘branding’ are already “unbranded”. As a result of all the hype, few people understand their true meaning. So it is time for branding, not unbranding.


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Hi, I have the same problem as Jesse. WHAT ON EARTH IS GOING ON?We are seoppsud to have our wedding in October at the resort. My fiance9 and I travelled to Punta Cana and met Viviana and Ana Maria the managers at the Romance department. We discussed dates, prices, all kinds of details etc. We came back to the US and continued communicating with the Romance department but after a while I never heard from them again. So I contacted the resort and learn that they where not working there anymore! Surprisingly, no one contacted us to let us know. Since then I have spoken to several people, including one of the assistants (Loremy) who promised to send me the confirmation of the date and the form so we could take it from there. I never got the form. Then I called again and I was told that Loremy could not talk to me. I demanded to talk to Maria Victoria who I was told was the new manager. The person who answered the phone ( Cecilia) told me that Maria Victoria was not in charge of weddings any more and that the new person was Teresa. At this point I was incredibly frustrated and demanded to talk to one of the managers. Finally, M. Victoria took my call and assured me that they where going to take care of the situation. I have never heard from her again. A few days later I received a short e-mail from the assistant saying that I shouldn't worry and that M. Victoria would contact me at her earliest convenience. That of course never happened! So, my wedding is suppose to take place in your resort in October but as of today I am not sure if it is going to happen or not. No one is being in touch with me, no one tells me what is going on, I just do not know what to do!!! I haven't received the required form. We choose this resort because colleagues at the Embassy highly recommended us the resort but I am afraid the resort is not providing the service we where expecting. We have been clients of Sol Melia for many years so I am incredibly disappointed with this situation. We have guests coming from Europe, the US and Latin America. I am shocked and appaled by the treatment and lack of communication. Every time I asked to talk to a Manager the phone is put down. There is no point to forward this e-mail to the Romance department, I am not expecting an immediate response, however I wish someone from the management could contact me and let me know if it is worth to have our wedding day at the resort. THANK YOU.

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