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04 May 2005

Why we're scared of brand "narrativism".

According to Iconoculture's latest Iconowatch (www.iconoculture.com) the new word for brand narratives or brand stories is "narrativism". While we're very happy that the idea of a brand narrative is starting to seep into general discussions of brand and more importantly, into people's understanding of how complex brand structures and stories evolve, we're more worried about the use of words that don't exist or are innaccurate.

"Narrativism" is not in any dictionary we could find. The closest, according to our Shorter Oxford, is NARRATIVITY viz. "the quality or condition of being or presenting a narrative; (the action of story-telling)". As a verb it could be NARRATIVIZE "to present or interpret in the form of a narrative"

In a wider context, if the people at Iconoculture mean "narrativism" to mean "to tell our tales, cobbling together bits of promise from a scattershot of brands and products to create our own complex consumer tale" they may also be referring to the application of French semiotics term often used in the analysis of subculture BRICOLAGE, "the construction or creation of whatever is immediately available for use".

Understanding brands and branding can only be made easy for people if, as George Orwell always maintained, we use words that speak clearly and accurately project meaning.

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