Brand Theory Paper

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CM 502
Brands & Belief
Brand Theory Paper

3. Explain the importance of interactivity for contemporary brand management. Refer to Arvidsson. What does he mean by this? How is brand design linked to new media? If you wish, relate to the notion of interface in Lury. First of all, in accordance with the question: the paper will be delving into selected chapters of Adam Arvidsson's book Brands: Meaning and Value in Media Culture and exploring other texts from Lury, Danesi and others in context with the question. Arvidsson points out the importance of interactivity for contemporary brand management. In essence, one can apply it as a form of 'surplus' as he puts it, a surplus or 'ethical' surplus that has to be produced or extracted from the consumer consequently one that the consumer should ideally produce to become engulfed by a brand. Arvidsson talks about how "[...] brand management is still essentially about putting public communication to work in ways that either add to or reproduce the particular qualities that the brand embodies [...] Indeed, this has become even more central [...] contemporary brand management [...] establish {es} a relationship with consumers" (Arvidsson, 2006: 67). Therefore, to him consumer relations have now become very central in contemporary brand management and thus have inevitably lead to forms of interactivity, moreover, brands are accommodating and pursuing this interactivity in their strategies. Thus according to Arvidsson: one can say that contemporary brand management works by "[...] providing an ambience in which people are enabled or encouraged to produce themselves as members of the organization, and thereby produce the organization itself" (2006: 88). In the context of globalization and brands, does this tie into Giddens' notions of meaninglessness in globalization? " [...] pervasiveness of abstract systems. Day-to-day life becomes more calculable than it was in most pre-modern contexts. Calculability is expressed not only in the provision of stable social environments, but in the chronic reflexivity whereby individuals organize their own relations to the encompassing social world" (Giddens,1991: 201,202). Is contemporary brand management calculable as Giddens puts it and what is the value and meaning within interactivity? Thus, in these modern times it is possible via interactivity to let the consumers work for the brand, which gives a sense of meaning and value and it is the 'immaterial capital' tied to brand (strengthened by interactivity in modernity) that creates this. That is the potential of interactivity, the consumer now participates and is contributing to the brand and its overall image. On the topic of the media, Amin Samir makes an interesting point in that "The media, with their ideological crassness, generally respond [...] 'people are like that'" (Amin,1997: 55). Thus, the latter ties into and is contrary the notion of 'new media' which Arvidsson associates with "[...] new 'interactive' technologies" (2006: 76). One can argue that the media is no longer a 'crass' device as Amin puts it and that it assumes what people are. Interactivity is absolutely taking over. Arvidsson's arguments on interactivity in contemporary brand management are more delineated on page 29 of the text where he states "[...] the new, more diversified media environment made a wider range of information and knowledge available and actively catered to an experimenting, interactive attitude [...] such programmed interactivity rose to become the core principle of contemporary brand management" (2006:29). To elaborate what he means by programmed interactivity, he is talking about "[...] the anticipation of consumer agency on a mass scale [...] direct outcome of new forms of mediatization of consumption made possible by electronic media" (2006: 28). Some examples of a produced consumer agency and mediatized versions of that are magazine subscriptions or cooking programmes where "[...] consumers...
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