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Is there any relation between lobbying and branding?

Assessing the last 100 years of corporate practice in western democratic societies, one sees that branding and lobbying developed as professional, highly organised, and positioned practices of every commercial enterprise. Although by rule, they are never contained within the same department and employ professionals that do not overlap with their skills, it looks like both activities work hand in hand for the benefit of the organisation they are placed in.

As it so often goes with such self-evidence, this one is as well as many others far from the truth. One only has to check the premises and goals for both activities.

The primary purpose of branding is to shape something on the market (product, service, person, region, etc.) to return as high as a possible added value from the exchange of that good on the market. The consumer’s perception of values that he would gain with a purchase is the sole objective of branding. It is “me and consumer only” that is the optimal position of any branding strategist and brand manager. It is an unhampered market that is ideal for branding for both participants in the market, seller and buyer, brand owner and consumer.

Lobbying is an activity that tries to gain advantages for the company from legislators and other decision-makers on the state or local level. The only (or at least a final) public that lobbying is focused on is decision-makers that make decisions in the name of so-called public interest. Since such a decision maker’s sole goal is to hamper certain aspects of a market “in the interest of” the so-called general public, companies employ lobbying. Should there be no market deterring those acting on the market as a power in the name of the so-called general public, there would be no need for corporate lobbying.

One could imagine a perfect state-regulated economy. In such an economy that would be entirely regulated by those with a right to decide in the name of the so-called general public, there would be no need for branding. Any company’s sole task would be to secure beneficial decisions of the state through the lobbying process. In a perfectly regulated market, brands could, in theory, bring no added value. Perfectly regulated marked ceases to be market. A perfectly regulated market is an oxymoron.

It is thus straightforward to assess how much certain economies rest on statism (collectivistic regulations) or unhampered free will of individuals (humans and companies) entering the market from the resources allocated to lobbying and/or branding. It is easy to see that we have lived in a mixed economy for more than 100 years in the so-called western democratic world. But it is also easy to see that lobbying is gaining momentum compared to marketing and branding. Hence, the conclusion that we are moving oppositely from the liberal market and liberal humans is quite apparent.

Conclusion: The correlation between lobbying and branding is -1.

Disclosure: I have to admit that though my heart lies in branding, I do act as a lobbyist from time to time. There is only one excuse for this one cannot pretend that he is living in a different world than the one he is living in.

Andrej Drapal

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