The Past, the present and future of branding.

Nonfiction book review in marketing

Branding. A very Short Story. By Robert Jones
Oxford University Press, 2017. Pp 136. £7.00. ISBN 978 – 0 – 19 – 874991 – 2

Could we live without our brands?

Could it be possible to think our lives without the brands we consume every day? While deciding what to wear for the company’s Christmas party or what device to buy, brands impact on our choices. This is type of information readers will find on Robert Jones’ book: Branding: A very short story. The book is a bite of what brand was, is and will be in the near future.

Robert Jones is a marketing consultant, a practitioner. He has worked for big firms in different industries. His book, Branding A very short story, is a solid and reliable summary of knowledge and experience in the field. Jones uses the exemplification to convey main ideas about how brands work in a daily basis and behind the scene.

In eight chapters. Jones exposes explicit and implicit characteristics of the most famous brands in the global market. The first chapter conveys the definition of brand: it is more than a simple idea. It is images, colours, letters, packages that connect and engage with us in some many ways. More impressive is the argument about how brands determine our identities and perceptions: “They use brands to help construct their identity, their sense of who they are.” (p. 12). Yet, brand is deeper than appearance because it is a set of actionable ideas, with a remarkable style, on which companies ‘stand for’.

On history of brands. The subsequent chapter, Jones lands on the history of branding. It was born since the humans have created distinctive symbols, for instance Egyptian and Romans with their symbols to identify dynasties or status into a tribe. Yet, the nineteenth century was the period in which the boom of production serves itself through branding, by generating meanings to engage with people.

From the pas to the present. The present of brands and branding consist in how it gets into people’s mind. Slightly, Jones uses the findings from neuromarketing research to picture how brands engage with people. Also, he highlights the limitations of such findings to explain motivational engagement which does not have yet empirical evidence.

The rest of the chapters. Like a funnel, the rest of the chapters review exhaustively the present of the brandings nowadays. Jones tells us about how brands are built in structured organisations, or how artists are committed to develop brand image, or how organisations recruit the best experts in to produce meanings and remarkable signs.

Finally, Jones concludes the book by going into the future of branding: Will it be alive after all? The end appears as a matter of reassurance for marketers: “Branding, in other words, will live on”.

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