The one-sentence summary

Brands and branding must be grounded in a rigorous and philosophical view of the way the world works.


  • There are strong links between philosophy and branding (“All modern, complex and apparently sophisticated approaches to brands and branding must be grounded in a rigorous and philosophical view of the way the world works”)
  • It works its way through the thinking of most of the major philosophers and expresses their views as though they were in charge of brands
  • It starts with Heraclitus, moving through Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Locke, Hume, Kant, Hegel, Nietzche, Wittgenstein and Popper
  • It all comes together in a list of top tips which summarises their thinking as though they were applying it to brand management


  • This is certainly a highly original way of looking at brand management and should stimulate some new, more cerebral approaches
  • It is also an excellent way to acquaint yourself with the gist of most philosophical thinking, without reading the original impenetrable essays
  • The writing style is jargon-free, and short, so you can read it quickly
  • It is fairly simple to apply the thinking, and back it up with intellectual stature. For example:

~ Nothing is stable in the world

~ Question everything

~ “Irreducible” (certain) brand cores should be viewed against the constant process of it becoming something else

~ Don’t be overly rational or logical

~ Don’t be fooled into thinking you know everything about markets, consumers or your own brand

~ Pose a thesis, then the antithesis, and arrive at a synthesis (the dialectic)


  • Perhaps not surprisingly, a lot of the theories are contradictory, so you cannot use them all together
  • Of course, none of the thinking here was ever applied to brands, so you have to check your relevance from time to time and keep a sense of perspective