EnRoute Magazine

Articles from a series on consumer culture that has been published three times annually in EnRoute Magazine since 2004.

The Boutique Individual: Personal Branding

PART TWO: PERSONAL BRANDING, Sep 2006
Everywhere I look in Sketch – Mourad Mazouz’s ultrafabulous London restaurant – I find whimsical, innovative ideas. Ever-changing video wallpaper in the bistro. Unisex bathrooms with individual pod enclosures. And on the plate too, where a typical chef Pierre Gagnaire menu experiments to the tune of Smoked Fish with Coco Bean Chantilly and Tuna Jelly.
 
But if you wish to experience Sketch in this way, as a nexus of creative surprise, you might want to stop reading here because, as it is with sausages, sometimes knowing how things are made diminishes the pleasure of consumption. Take the neon light sculpture on the landing of the staircase: If I move my head from side to side, the neon ghosts out the word “Love.” Which would indeed be creative and surprising but somehow isn’t because I happen to know that it and every other detail in this place has been planned in advance to reflect Mazouz’s Personal Brand.
Posted: Friday, Sep. 8, 2006 9:00pm

The Boutique Individual: Corporate Storytelling

PART ONE: CORPORATE STORYTELLING, June 2006
 
When I was six years old, I went with an older cousin to look at sailboats in Fisherman’s Cove in West Vancouver. At the gas station opposite the marina, he parked his 1969 Dodge Charger and offered to buy sodas. What about one of these? He indicated his favourite: Orange Crush. I declined, although I wanted the drink. But I’d been so indoctrinated on the evils of fast food and soft drinks that I didn’t dare indulge.
 
A few decades later, I understand the whole incident in terms of the microeconomics of branding. That summer day – seagulls gliding in the salty air currents above a thicket of swaying sailboat masts – Orange Crush made me a “brand promise,” an offer of membership in a tribe of guys like my cousin: Dodge Charger enthusiasts with girlfriends, puka shell necklaces and brown corduroy boot-cut Levi’s. This was my incentive to buy.
Posted: Monday, Jun. 5, 2006 9:00pm
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