Branded Nation: Another View

Brand Autopsy brands James Twitchell's Branded Nation a worthless read:
Twitchell examines how the seemingly non-commercial worlds of colleges and universities, churches, and museums have become commercialized by embracing the religion of marketing. The book reads like a series of long-form white papers with general and somewhat interesting observations, but no actionable takeaways. I should warn ya … Twitchell is extremely verbose … he carries on from page-to-page like a know-it-all who doesn’t know when the reader has had enough.
I agree that Twitchell avoids the contempory business book bullet point style; a style exemplified by the Change This manifestos. Yes, Twitchell does like to delve into myriad nooks and crannies as he explores the terraign of his chosen topic. That, I'll concede. At half its length, the book would perhaps be more effective.

As to "no actionable takeaways," BrandAutopsy has perhaps misjudged the book's target market. True, Twitchell says little that is news to marketers. However, Twitchell's pounds home a message that many in higher ed desperately need to hear and absorb into their DNA if their college or university is to compete in today's environment. The take-away is not a laundry list of tactics, rather the take-away for those in higher ed is a reframing of their value offering. Many in higher ed (and churches) could benefit from this reframing.

Twitchell's book is well paired with John Seely Brown's The Social Life of Information, especially the chapters dealing with higher ed as credential granting institutions. Those in church would do well to pair Twitchell's book with Callahan's Small Strong Congregations

1 comment:

  1. Rob, thanks for the link love to Brand Autopsy.

    Regarding misjudging the target audience for the book … there lies the problem of BRANDED NATION … it is a book without a clearly defined target audience.

    It’s a hybrid book – part cultural studies commentary and part business marketing strategy. Go to a bookstore and you’ll find BRANDED NATION in either the Cultural Studies section or in the Business section.

    Twitchell may have been better served by clearly defining the audience for the book.