No more buffing the corporate veneer: time to pierce it

Old-school branding and public relations are all about creating magical, memorable brands, unifying the enterprise’s many operations under that brand banner, then making sure nothing besmirches that image.

Think of that old-fashioned brand image as a beautiful burled veneer covering the corporate facade. It must be kept pristine and shiny. Whenever anything threatens it, the public relations group’s function is to clean it up. In quiet times, to buff it to a sharp polish.

Not anymore.

I just reposted a lost 2004 essay called “public relationships,” in which I lauded Robert Scoble for singlehandedly punching holes through Microsoft’s carefully mis-managed corporate veneer.

Now many companies are beginning to figure out how to reach through that corporate image to connect with outside publics. It’s messy, but very productive. It’s also having a lot of effect on brands.

What exactly is a brand that depends on a lot of individuals kind of free-wheeling it out there? How do they appear as a brand? What unifies them? Who owns the brand?

We’ll explore some of these questions Tuesday, in next week’s Yi-Tan call, with our guest Kevin Clark.


About Jerry Michalski

Lateral thinker, itinerant troublemaker, convener, idea mill.
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