Brand Thinking and Other Noble Pursuits

Brand Thinking and Other Noble Pursuits

Debbie Millman

Language: English

Pages: 336

ISBN: 162153247X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

The notion of the brand, like any concept that dominates markets and public consciousness, is a challenge to define. Is it a simple differentiator of the cereals in our cupboards, a manipulative brainwashing tool forced on us by corporations, or a creative triumph as capable as any art form of stimulating our emotions and intellect? 

For those of us who grapple with these questions on a daily basis, Brand Thinking and Other Noble Pursuits elevates the discussion to the level of revelation. Each chapter is an extensive dialogue between Debbie Millman, herself a design visionary, and a different leader in the field. By asking questions deeply informed by her own expertise, Millman coaxes lucid, prescient answers from twenty-two interview subjects, among them Malcolm Gladwell, Tom Peters, Seth Godin, and godfather of modern branding Wally Olins. 

This engaging and enlightening book is an unprecedented forum on the state of modern branding and how companies and consumers can best understand the behavior behind why we brand and why we buy.
















she shows surprise, she gets people to move past their standard talking points. Reading the resulting conversations is like following her through the party, eavesdropping as she works the room. While a distinct optimism runs through the book, there’s also enough friction at the edges to keep it lively, and challenging. As much as the reader learns, he or she is also, finally, left to think through the numerous issues and draw original, individual conclusions. For starters, you’ll likely end up

dynamic connected in some way to our ability, need, or tendency to worship? Worship is really about the call and response for connection. In the process of worshipping God, what you are doing is establishing a connection through song or dance or prayer. What people may not recognize is that in that process, they are letting go of seeing God as an “all-powerful being.” What they are doing when they are worshipping is having a one-to-one chat, a heart-to-heart about “What’s going on with me,

other hand, I admire it. Being a part of Nike or Starbucks is like being part of a religion. You learn all the tenets of the religion. Our job, as brand evangelists, is to gain converts to the religion. But as much as I believe in this, I also realize that no one has to have those products. You can live without them—they’re not essential to life. I’ve probed deep in my soul to see if I felt bad doing this work, but I never have. I have never felt guilty. Are you somehow disappointed that you

experiences in that way? I don’t think anyone thinks that explicitly. I do think that transactions between companies and individuals—or between brands and individuals—are in their own ways conversations. A promise can be one element of a conversation. It’s what draws people in. I think that’s why the dynamic is different when you look at this conversation after someone has bought the product or the service. I think the brand can operate in a somewhat different way then. When the brand is

“you’ve got one too, right on. You get me, I get you, and we’re not like everybody else.” But why do we feel smug? Why not joy or wonder? I think people want to feel and be seen as exclusive and special. The fewer people in the club, so to speak, the more unique you are. And if you encounter another exclusive member, you can mirror the mutuality back and forth. It’s wonderfully narcissistic. On Fridays before a varsity football game in high school, all the football players would wear their

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