Branding: the two faces of the coin


There are no appropriate instruments to measure success, but many tools that can contribute to its fruition and establish its value; advertising, for example, is an important tool that shapes success, because, in terms of quantity, the more a thing is advertised the easier it is to sell.

To be successful, a brand needs to be easy to identify, easy to remember, and easy to understand.

Products do not only need advertising campaigns, most of all if they are identified by a visually strong logo attaching them to a successful brand.


‘When Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno Maria de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santisima Trinidad Ruiz Picasso’ (Kreutz, 2003), ‘launched his campaign to make himself a brand, professional marketing as we now know it did not exist.’ (Kreutz, 2003).


As Pablo Picasso, it needs that ‘x factor’ to be able to stand out among the others.


‘He soon began systematically exploiting his own talents, keeping his eye on the future as he built a career that made a billionaire out of an impoverished young painter-and brought him immortality as a brand.’ (Kreutz, 2003).


Nowadays we are dominated by an invisible force whose power is to persuade, inspire and invade people’s lives, in such a normal way no one realizes it; a force fomented by the mass media and advertising power.


Are brands the most powerful entities in shaping the future of our planet?

As Picasso once said ‘one must be familiar with the old in order to make the new well’. Brands know how to mix that feeling of nostalgia for past traditions with the revolutionary innovations that are shaping modern times.

Just think of big brands such as Coca-Cola and Burberry, that have been successful in producing and selling new products inspired by the past either through design or advertising. This allows huge potentially invasive campaigns to become relatable and normal parts of our lives.


Branding in the last few years has been used to promote a feeling of terror if we think about those insurgent groups and terrorist organizations, whose iconography and symbols have been and are still being spread worldwide.

These organizations, far away different from those we are used to, have been arguably the most influential in terms of mass communication, promotion, and persuasion, since their images of horror have been turning people’s everyday life into a spiral of death and uncertainty. Each characterized by a logo, hierarchy, and publicity.


‘Al-Qaeda (Arabic for “the base”) was formed in Afghanistan in about 1988 as a network of militant Islamist fighters. Its founders were the Palestinian Islamic theologian Abdullah Azzam and the Saudi Arabian Osama bin Laden.’ (Beifuss and Bellini, 2013); ‘The black flag associated with al-Qaeda is the black flag referred to in Arabic as al-raya and commonly dubbed the ‘Flag of Jihad’. It has been a symbol of religious revolt and battle since the funding of Islam’ (Beifuss and Bellini, 2013).

‘It gained prominence in 2011, after al-Qaeda’s hijacking of aeroplanes in the United States and the destruction of the World Trade Center in New York [2985 people are recorded as having died in the attacks], and it is now used by numerous groups worldwide’ (Beifuss and Bellini, 2013).




Moreover ‘the logos of many leftist revolutionary groups contain a five-pointed star, which stands for socialism and (particularly) communism [the Red Brigades; BR].’ (Beifuss and Bellini, 2013).

‘In communist symbolism, the five-pointed star represents unity.’ (Beifuss and Bellini, 2013).







However, commercial purpose or not, these organizations, all have the same aim, to gain notoriety, and of course power for their ‘brand’, so as to allow ideology to permeate people’s minds.





Beifuss, A. and Bellini, F. (2013). Branding terror. New York: Merrell.

Kreutz, B. (2003). The art of branding. Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz.


IMAGES [Accessed: 15/02/2016]. [Accessed: 15/02/2016].


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