Thursday, May 14, 2009


Lauren Miller

Branding. This is a concept that applies to practically everyone and everything. According to, branding involves using attributes and characteristics in order to differentiate yourself or your company in a meaningful way. Beyond the general term there is brand identity, where you express your brand to others, and brand image, the way that others see you. As mentioned, nearly everything is branded, whether or not it is realized. For example, dogs have a brand image of “man’s best friend.” Of course, not all dogs fit this view, but I’m sure that most people associate dogs with friendly pets.

Continually, every college student has a brand. As we grow and experience we develop a sense of self and an identity for ourselves. Our character, our brand identity, is presented to others and we form relationships based on that. Now, just as we have individual brands, all companies have distinct brands. Each news organization, newspaper and magazine has a different identity. The New York Times has a different brand identity than The Wall Street Journal or The Onion. Maxim has a different brand identity than Cosmopolitan or the New Yorker. All of these media organizations present a different image, and they attract consumers who relate to that image.

The article, “The Squeeze,” by Russ Baker, talks about how the advertising industry, while representing their clients, influences the content of our news and editorials in some of these media outlets. Like the news organizations, clients such as P&G are trying to reach a specific target audience, and they brand their company or product in order to appeal to that consumer. So the client and agency find the best media to reach their target audience.

Media choices are not selected at random, they are strategic. From here the media team at the agency and the media organization work together to decide when ads will run, how long, how much, etc. Here is where each side must understand each other’s brand. If a client decided to advertise with The New York Times he must realize that it will run hard-hitting stories. And the sales representative for The New York Times must also represent her new client, the agency, and understand that brand.

There is good communication and relationships when the news organization gives a heads up to the agency about unfavorable stories that might be running. Most likely, the advertisers will not pull the ad; they might move it to a different issue, but they would not pull all of their ads. If that is where the consumer is, that is where the ad needs to be.

In the end, a newspaper or magazine should not waiver and change its brand image simply to meet the requests of advertisers and to bring in that money. Everyone needs to realize their brand image and stick to it.

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