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Brands can be seen in terms of a brand-as-person model. Some of the relationship you might have with people sharing those relationships are described below:

Type Characteristics Example brands Relationship model
Conservative Trustworthy, old-fashioned, sincere Marks and Spencer, AGA, Kodak, Guinness Like that with a respected member of the family
Exciting Fashionable, outgoing, young, fun GAP, Nokia, Mini, Red Bull Like the sort of person you would like to spend an evening or weekend with
Competent Accomplished, able skilled, influential Financial Times, BBC, IBM, Volkswagen The relationship with a teacher or business leader
Sophisticated Wealthy, stylish, pretentious Mercedes, Harvey Nichols, Vogue, Mont Blanc The relationship with a wealthy relative, or a powerful boss


You can read more about the psychology of branding on the two 'whitepapers' on the excellent brandmaster blog.

What a makes a brand successful or not and how can we compare the characteristics of brands and produce a pictorial representation of its strengths and weaknesses? One method is suggested on a brandmaster blog post. You can read this in the window below or from the previous link and then answer the questions that follow.


A final thought on this section - could you manage without buying branded goods? In 2006, Neil Boorman attempted to live for a year without brands and started this year with a bonfire of all his branded goods in central London.

This BBC article describes his feelings at the end of that year.

You might want to visit his blog Bonfire of the Brands which has become a homage to anti-consumerism:

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Through the routine use of psychology in advertising, many brands now embody goals and values in life towards which we must strive. We proudly wear the logos of companies on our chests to identify where we come from, who we are and more importantly, who we want to be. The manufactured values of company brands have become our own.

I believe that brands have begun to mean too much. The symbol of a sports shoe manufacturer should not embody freedom. We should not be defining ourselves simply by the logo on our cars. In doing so, we hand over our identity and our self-worth to companies whose existence are geared not towards quality of life, but towards profit.

Neil Boorman