I just got out of a three hour “branding” meeting at my loathed place of employment. Three hours spent listening to a marketing drone talk about “positive branding statements” and “personal brands” and brandy-brand-brand-McBranderton. This workshop is mandatory for all employees at my company, because the most recent employee satisfaction survey revealed that most employees had no idea what the hell our brand was, and even fewer actually cared. The solution, obviously, is to shanghai everyone from their actual work during one of the busiest times of the year, and force them to look at pictures of the Target and Apple logo for 180 minutes. I mean, duh. Highlights:

– We were required to bring an example of “our favorite brand” to the meeting and discuss why we liked it. I brought ‘Nuff said. But the best one was this IT guy who brought a brochure from Royal Caribbean and spent three minutes talking about how much he loves “cruising” and he’s such an experienced “cruiser” and “cruising” is really a way of life. Heh heh. *snort*

– Absolutely true quote from the presenter: “One of the goals of this session is that we wanted to address the perception that ‘branding’ is a dirty marketing word. It’s much MORE than that!”

– At the beginning of the session, to help us understand just what a brand is (because we’ve apparently all been living in caves somewhere), we were shown a slide show of effective brands like Coke, Nike, IBM, Microsoft … and MLK, Jr., and Reagan. Er, yeah. After the slide show the presenter asked for comments. Me: “It seems like those images are conflating ‘brand’ with ‘image.’ ‘Brand’ suggests commodification in a way that seems odd to apply to individual people like MLK and Reagan. What’s your take on that?” Presenter: (blank look). “Great observation.” (To be fair, I think she didn’t know what “conflate” means, so maybe that made it harder to respond.)

So anyhoo, that’s three hours of my life that I won’t get back. Sounds like Brando had a similar experience – his list pretty accurately reflects my mindset.

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