The role of branding: applying evolutionary theory in marketing

Wu, Yufan and Ardley, Barry (2007) The role of branding: applying evolutionary theory in marketing. Systemica: journal of the Dutch systems group, 15 . pp. 147-156. ISSN 0167-9961

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Abstract

This paper explores memetics and evolutionary theory as it relates to branding.Memes
are similar to genes in the biological world. The former is a self replicating entity which
jumps from human host to human host.Within the complex changing business environment,
some memes are successful and others are not. This paper argues that brands are
meme like entities, conforming to the dictates of evolutionary theory. Considerable existing
research in branding argues that success results from the increasing complexity of
brand management and strategy. This paper takes a different perspective. The focus point
of the research is on the ‘fitness’ ability of the meme to survive as a brand. Therefore,
memetics, as an approach to branding, does not argue for sophistication or complexity as
a route to success. Instead, it is dependent on a system of cultural reproduction. This general
argument about the role of the meme leads to two key debates. The role of brand
management might be seen as a process to increase the brand’s fitness for survival as a
complex system to beat its competitors, or as a way to increase the brand’s fitness for
reproduction. The latter represents the ability of the meme to reproduce itself in order to
increase its frequency in the general meme pool.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:This paper explores memetics and evolutionary theory as it relates to branding.Memes are similar to genes in the biological world. The former is a self replicating entity which jumps from human host to human host.Within the complex changing business environment, some memes are successful and others are not. This paper argues that brands are meme like entities, conforming to the dictates of evolutionary theory. Considerable existing research in branding argues that success results from the increasing complexity of brand management and strategy. This paper takes a different perspective. The focus point of the research is on the ‘fitness’ ability of the meme to survive as a brand. Therefore, memetics, as an approach to branding, does not argue for sophistication or complexity as a route to success. Instead, it is dependent on a system of cultural reproduction. This general argument about the role of the meme leads to two key debates. The role of brand management might be seen as a process to increase the brand’s fitness for survival as a complex system to beat its competitors, or as a way to increase the brand’s fitness for reproduction. The latter represents the ability of the meme to reproduce itself in order to increase its frequency in the general meme pool.
Keywords:Branding, Memetics, Evolutionary theory, Marketing
Subjects:N Business and Administrative studies > N500 Marketing
Divisions:College of Social Science > Lincoln Business School
ID Code:1224
Deposited By: Jill Partridge
Deposited On:25 Sep 2007
Last Modified:13 Mar 2013 08:25

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