July 20, 2008

This Brand Is Our Brand

A recent article on Brand Channel remarks on the links between the values of New England writers such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau and some successful brands from that part of the world. Ben & Jerry's, Stonyfield Farm, Burt's Bees and Tom's of Maine all reflect the concerns of such writers with nature, simplicity and stewardship of the land.

I'm not sure you can trace similar links between the writers of Ireland and the brands which have emerged in recent years. I know that various promoters have borrowed lines from our writers to use in marketing material from time to time. For example, Aer Lingus used to have lines of poetry woven into the fabric of their seating at one stage, whilst it seems that every other restaurant in Ireland likes to echo GB Shaw's "There is no sincerer love than the love of food." But that's not quite the same thing. Our popular brands seem to draw on other sources of inspiration.

When you consider the popularity of Irish writing in all parts of the world, it's remarkable that more brands haven't emerged from the tradition. Maybe the breadth of Irish writing doesn't reflect a world-view in the way that the writings of Thoreau and Emerson seem to?

Or maybe these brands are yet to come? Given the easy eloquence of our tradition, perhaps the recent development of a highly-socialised world of brands means that Irish brands will meld local and global in a way that few others can (with the probable exception of Indian brands which might draw on a similar tradition of celebrating the universal in the particular)?

For businesses working in places where communication is king, this would seem to offer a real opportunity to build brands which might enjoy the same kind of popularity as the brands of New England.

Maybe you know of some that are already headed that way? If so, why not let us know about it.

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