Academic journal article Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies

Political Brand, Symbolic Construction and Public Image Communication

Academic journal article Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies

Political Brand, Symbolic Construction and Public Image Communication

Article excerpt

1.Brand - a symbolic construction in the horizon of the sacred

Nowadays, brands are regarded as symbolic constructions that bring with them a remarkable power. They develop according to the dynamic requirements of a world characterized by a global market offer. Brands correspond to a human need for meaningful investment. They participate in a significant universe in which not only people, but also things speak a language loaded with elements considered valuable by community members. This type of adhesion is akin to that based on a common identity built around the presence and manifestation of the sacred. We are not talking here about the term sacred as it appears in the mentalities of institutionalized religions. It is rather a sacred that develops in a diffused manner, in connection with the ambiguity that the man of postmodern society experiences in his relationship with everything that is for him tradition, permanence or transcendence.

To reveal how sacredness is relevant in the relationship of postmodern man to things or products with the potential to be perceived as brands, we could invoke the reflections of at least two thinkers. On one side, we can remember a type of mythology that Karl Marx included in describing the fetishization mechanisms taking place in the sphere of exchange and consumption. This particular way of reporting commodities is encompassed by Marx in the expression of commodity fetishism. He reveals in this way of reporting things a series of religious traits that are attributed to things. The fetish relationship which the consumer establishes with things is surrounded by a kind of mystical and magical energy at the same time. The anthropological construct of the fetish is used with a negative meaning by Marx to reveal a relationship of alienation that economic relationships are producing on the market (Marx 1999). Within a similar kind of alienation, but with a more positive perspective, Jean Baudrillard reveals a shift of emphasis from the centrality that man occupies in the universe towards the centrality that the object occupies in the human universe. Everyday life is reorganized around this new center as a kind of idolatry spectacle in which the entire life of the individual unfolds around a new idol that gives meaning to everyday life. Such a symbolic investment of things (similar to the meaningful investment man makes in his relationship with the sacred) transforms objects into bearers of personal traits, very similar to human traits (Baudrillard 1996). The alienation phenomenon is neither the result of the market nor the result of the product's presence. It is related to the type of relationships that the individuals built and locate themselves. As proof, a master of symbolic thinking such as Pierre Bourdieu, can even cast the intersubjective relations under the sign of alienation. A relevant example of these relationships could be those in the sphere of political power delegation. Representation and power delegation are circumscribed to such a cycle of alienation when a kind of magical transfer is made from those who hold power to the one who has the role of representation, and those who obtain power forget who gave them that power. In other words, when representatives forget what the true source of power is, and sometimes act as if they are all-powerful (Bourdieu 2012).

The brand implies, among other things, a discussion of authenticity. Whether we are talking about commercial brands or personal brands we keep sight of a special type of product. A brand provides access to a form of authenticity according to the cultural register we assume. This explains the importance that branding theorists attribute to the emotional bond between the product and the consumer of the product. It is even more important when talking about a loyal consumer with a behavior based on past experience which justifies product differentiation in relation to other products. Anca Daniela Manea has such experiences in mind when she states that "a brand lives in the mind of the consumer and is the sum of all the experiences, perceptions and expectations the client has about a particular product, service or company" (Manea 2011, 10-11). …

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