Go back to Wally Olins’ definition of the word ‘brand’

It was intriguing to read Alec Rattray’s letter and Tim Rich’s Private View on the same subject (DW 1 August). I can think of fewer better examples of ‘brand-speak or flannel’ than Rattray’s letter, and fewer recent articles which show more common sense on the subject than Rich’s contribution.

The design profession appears to have been hoodwinked into using the uncomfortable word ‘brand’ as an expression of corporate identity.

Why, oh why, can’t we return to the definitions in Wally Olins’ 1979 book The Corporate Personality?

In the book, he said, ‘The tangible manifestation of a corporate personality is a corporate identity. It is the identity that projects and reflects the reality of the corporate personality A brand identity is the same as corporate identity used in the context of a brand, but while a brand identity makes sense, a brand personality is a contradiction in terms. No brand is profound or real enough to have a real personality.’

Clients are capable of making these distinctions and are aware of the need to take on board the requirement to encapsulate the culture of their company in their identity.

Douglas Cooper

Bath BA2 6BX

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