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  • Writer's pictureBRANDS & U

The Cultural Codes of Branding

The brand culture perspective reveals how brands are open, including cultural, sociological, and theoretical studies that supplement and complicate brand economic analysis. Emphasizing brand culture is part of a broader call to incorporate cultural issues into management and administration. The classics of market research add to the argument that culture and history can provide the necessary contextual comparisons for the information management and processing vision of brand interaction with consumers and society.

If a brand exists as a cultural, ideological, and sociological object, then understanding the brand requires developing tools to understand the culture, ideology, and society, as well as more typical brand concepts such as value, strategy, and brand value. The brand culture perspective regards brand expressiveness and rhetoric as valuable cultural products, reflecting a wide range of social, cultural, and ideological codes. In this framework, the brand is not only an intermediary of cultural significance but also the brand itself has become an ideological reference for shaping cultural rituals, economic activities, and social norms.

Brand culture refers to the brand culture code (history, image, myth, art, drama) that affects the meaning and value of the brand in the market. From this perspective, research questions usually include understanding the cultural influence and significance of the brand from two aspects. First of all, we live in a world of brands: brands inject meaning into the culture, and brands have a profound impact on contemporary society. Secondly, brand culture is the third dimension of brand research; as in the traditional field of brand recognition and image research, brand culture provides the cultural, historical, and political foundation necessary to understand the brand in the context. The concept of brand culture occupies the theoretical space between the concept of strategic brand recognition and consumers’ interpretation of the brand image, revealing the often observed gap between management’s attention and market response, in other words, strategic goals and consumption.

How do brands interact with culture? From a cultural perspective, a brand can be understood as the communication object that the brand manager wants consumers to buy: a symbolic world defined in part by the brand’s identity. In theory, brand management is based on the intention of the brand owner to convey the received information.

However, the meaning given to the brand by consumers is not only the result of brand recognition, but also the negotiation process that occurs between the marketing environment, cultural environment, and social environment. Managing the brand requires successfully managing the meaning of the brand in the market: brand image. However, the meaning of the brand and the creation of value are not entirely derived from the market. The interaction of culture, aesthetics, and history injects the brand into the global flow of discourse.

A greater understanding of the links between cultural traditions and conventions and brand production and consumption helps to position and understand the brand as a global representative system. The study of broadening brand research in the cultural and historical fields can build an important bridge between our understanding of the value in the intention of the producer or product on the one hand or the value created by it on the other hand. It is completely determined by individual consumers or brand communities. In other words, in addition to brand identity and brand image, the field of brand culture is also a necessary supplement for brand meaning and value creation.

Branding has become a controversial cultural, academic, and management field. Many of the world’s largest companies and most valuable brands are considered corporate brands, not corporate entities, such as American Express, IBM, and Mercedes-Benz. Each company is endowed with any other assets because of its intangible brand value. Brands are an increasingly important, powerful, and visible part of the culture, and require unique and complementary research perspectives that can cover the code of brand culture.

We need to learn more about our own history and the nature of the society in which we live because it can retroactively affect everything we do and create. Brands have exactly the same responsibilities to society. In fact, it is even more important for brands to assume social responsibility, because cultural relevance is the core product of their business, especially fashion brands.

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