Great artists have always labelled their work.
Whether it be to assert ownership over a cattle-beast with a branding iron, or to sign a masterpiece with an ink pen, the label serves as a quality mark – a link back to the origin of the creation.
Great creations spread and the trademark captured the story behind it – in the eyes of the craftsman and in the eyes of the customer. A connection was created.
As the industrial revolution kicked into gear, and mass-marketers sought to reach the largest possible audience with generic & repeatable products, the role of the “trademark” changed dramatically. To help protect advertising efforts, the “Registered Trademark” system was introduced to help mass-marketers retain a competitive advantage against smaller, locally-produced alternatives.
Creative advertising agencies emerged to help manufacture new brands – to influence consumer behaviour and be leveraged as trademarks to help increase margins and profit. The art became the manipulation of audiences, rather than creation of great products.
The rules of the industrial game meant that the winners were those who could best create a perception of what their product represented in the eyes of the consumer and purchase the greatest number of eyeballs possible.
It mattered little whether the story being told was a true one – the TV screens belonged to those with the financial means to buy the audience and what mattered most what what story would help sell the most widgets.
The connection economy is changing the rules of the game again. Tolerance to bullshit is decreasing and ability of the little guys to tell their stories and build audiences is increasing.
The future belongs to those creating new value, those with an authentic story to tell.
It’s never been about the mark – its about what that mark represents.
Do it your way, tell your story – be yourself.