I was cleaning six months of paper out of the office last weekend. Predictably, after a few hours of energetic tossing out, recycling, and crisp decision-making, I started to drift, re-reading this and that, shifting paper from place to place. [But also ... uncovering things worth sharing!]
 the consumer has become more sophisticated. They see brand owner "intentionality" everywhere. And they want to know what the brand's agenda is
 consumers may like the brand but distrust the marketing
 the brand and the brand owner are no longer the same thing. the brand owner has become a force behind the brand with an agenda of its own
 when the brand owner is not synonymous with the brand, the brand is not a vehicle for the owner's message, it is the thing that is being experienced. The brand is a repository for meaning. A wonderful analogy to explain this: the brand is to the company as the novel is to the author. We see the connection, but we don't see them as the same. We experience the brand as text on its own. Another analogy: Macbeth is not just a story about witches, it has much more richness than that.
 this situation makes the whole awareness --> interest --> decision --> action model of advertising / brand communications pretty unhelpful in unpacking what is going on with a brand, and a consumers relationship to a brand
 the brand is instantiating the values and meaning of the brand essence.
 the reality of the brand is in the mind of the reader, the watcher, the experiencer.
Mr. Barnham made reference to G.P.Radford, and his book, "On the Philosophy of Communication". Radford says that before the 17th century, the word communication is more about sharing, participation and association. Our notion of the word communication implying transmission of a message is relatively new. We went from the notion of sharing an idea to the notion of conveying an idea.
In the new world of branding, this old notion of communication is back. The one being communicated with is in communion with the sender -- in fact, both are sharing the creation of the idea. [Co-creation anyone?]
So, where does that leave us?
According to Mr. Barnham, if the brand is the manifestation rather than the sender of the message...
Then marketing activity becomes the actualization of brand essence ...
And brand communication needs to refocus on 'sharing' rather than 'sending'.
More practically, when we are conducting research, we may be going down the wrong path if we ask what a brand is saying. We should ask how a brand is being.
These are biggish ideas, with heavy duty implications.
Also learned from this presentation:
 red type on a purple background is practically invisible. But the message was so good I stayed with it.