A great article from Branding Strategy Insider last week cites a trend in branding toward the Holistic Brand Proposition:

“There’s every indication that branding will move … into an even more sophisticated realm — reflecting a brave new world where the consumer desperately needs something to believe in — and where brands very well might provide the answer. I call this realm the HSP — the Holistic Selling Proposition. HSP brands are those that not only anchor themselves in tradition but also adopt religious characteristics at the same time they leverage the concept of sensory branding as a holistic way of spreading the news. Each holistic brand has its own identity, one that is expressed in its every message, shape, symbol, ritual, and tradition — just as sports teams and religion do today.”

When I read this, the first brand that springs to mind in Guinness. Guinness has most definitely moved beyond the space occupied by “normal” brands and has taken up residence in the realm of holistic brands. With its iconic advertising, its association of black and beige and the fact that it pretty much owns St Patrick’s day all over the world. It has it all; the rituals, the symbols, the tradition, the legacy…

But, my question is this. If branding is to move into this new territory called holistic branding, on what basis?

Should all brands now be considering what their holistic brand assets might be? And what about new brands, are they really in a position to be citing rituals and tradition when they weren’t even around the year before?

And what if all brands got on this bandwagon? Would we be surrounded by big brand wannabes all punching above their weight?

Or, is this where branding comes full circle and where the authentic heart of the brand finds its true place, and the brand finds its purpose. After all, each brand needs to have a reason for being, as we do. And so, the beauty of this approach is that each and every brand will fill the space that’s right for it and express itself in the ways that are most appropriate. It is for everyone, and it is not dependent on how big you are but how authentic you are.