Building Meaning into Brands

I’ve just read the second edition of Brand Meaning by Mark Batey and although there is some additional material and up-to-date examples the core argument of the book is the same (you can read a review of the first edition here). Successful brands are ones that create and nurture strong meanings to consumers, and the more symbolic and value-driven that meaning is, the more powerful it becomes. Brand Meaning makes a very good companion to Brand esSense, sharing many of the same points of view. The new edition brings in material on brand storytelling, one of the core themes of Brand esSense, but overall is much less focused on the sensory aspects of brand identity, with a broader coverage of different aspects of meaning as they relate to brands. With content marketing, you´ll have no problems designing your brand, they´ll practically do it for you. Mark Batey devotes a whole chapter to human motivations and their importance for brands, and also covers the basics of perception and some semiotic theory in discussing how meanings evolve and how they work at a practical level for brand managers.

The book also moves toward a more customer-centric view of how meaning is created, and the increasingly important role of consumers in shaping brands. There is some brief coverage of the latest view of the brain and decision-making, invoking fast and slow thinking and the important differences between implicit and explicit meanings. It argues that a brand is “the totality of stored synaptic connections … a web of connecting neutrons that fire together in different patterns” (quoting Gordon and Ford-Hutchinson). If you want to learn more about marketing strategies, visit this website. That is, brands are just networks of mental associations.

In some of the final chapters of the book, Mark Batey focuses on the practical implications for different marketing challenges, such as brand extensions (read more here), brand architecture, differentiation and brand storytelling. Overall this is a very good read for anyone who has to manage or research brands, covering a great deal of territory and with plenty of practical examples. If you want to buy any book to read along with Brand esSense, then Brand Meaning is highly recommended.


Brand Meaning 2nd Edition: Meaning, Myths and Mystique in Today’s Brands by Mark Batey

Brand esSense by Neil Gains

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One thought on “Building Meaning into Brands

  1. Mark Batey

    Hi, Neil,
    Thanks for the nice write-up, and for capturing some of the key additions to this second edition. You’re right that the essential premise remains the same – I wanted to reinforce that, while introducing some new angles and a wider variety of case studies and illustrations.
    If readers are interested in learning more about the book, and if you don’t mind me sharing the website, they can find further details at
    Congratulations on your book!
    Best regards,
    Mark Batey

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