Are you a church goer? Have you attended/are you going to attend college? Does visiting a national museum ever make your annual to-do list? Have you considered yourself better off based on your choice of membership? If you have answered yes to any or all of these questions, the follow-up question to ask yourself is whether or not you have recognized the marketing strategies these million dollar institutions utilize to get you to answer yes. Believe it or not all three organizations have become marketing conglomerates that generate a specific brand targeted to specific audience members to lure in recurring attendance and membership which is highlighted in Branded Nation.
Once thought of as “above marketing” establishments, James Twitchell , author of Branded Nation and English professor at the University of Florida , enlightens his readers with an awakening breakdown of the religion, higher education, and museum worlds related to marketing. Despite the refute by ministers, university presidents, and museum directors opposing Branded Nation’s argument, Twitchell wittily examines all three cultural institutions to support his claims to show the permeation of branding and marketing among the high American culture.
In our prerequisite course, Introduction to IMC, we were required to read Branded Nation to aid in understanding of high culture and low culture. Twitchell gives an example of the brand surrounding the concept of an Evian bottle of water, a low culture. Drinking Evian creates a story, as Twitchell would say, that depicts a different account versus drinking an Aquafina bottle of water. Now, there is nothing wrong with drinking either water selection, however, Twitchell goes on to say that the way we look at advertising/marketing and the way we consume collide to make a story portrayal of ourselves and the market we engage. This concept was highly known among the low culture such as music, movies, and clothing, but Branded Nation unwraps the unnerving advertising/marketing approaches within high culture ties, which keeps readers gripping the cover till the end of the book.
If you are even slightly interested in marketing development, or if you qualify as a “yes” answer to the aforementioned questions, I highly recommend reading the words of Twitchell. Although a bit skewed as some opinions are heavily emphasized, Branded Nation will change the way you look at your church, your college or university, and your neighborhood museum. It will help you to take a more critical observation at the messages behind any brand or story and ask yourself even more questions regarding the marketing world and the quality of product(s) you are purchasing and accepting. Above all else, read Branded Nation to discover why Twitchell ends with the quote, “Get used to it, because it ain’t gonna get any better.”