Garnering Your Own Success

Antagonizing the social norm of corporate branding and exploitation

Corporate Branding

Growing up, children are daunted with the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Depending on whether you’re a middle-class citizen or economical elitist, sometimes a majority of your dreams and aspirations are limited because of your background, ethnicity, culture, financial background, etc. In reality, it is extremely difficult to be known as “wealthy” in the modern world, because large, powerful corporations and markets already exist and mass produce everyday commodities. However, not everyone becomes or stays trapped in the delusional sense of work hard and become rich ideology.

Nobody in their right mind would say, “I want to make a living career as a McDonald’s employee.” For most, McDonald’s is a transitioning job, where teens and postgrads take on the challenge to develop service skills. However, McDonald’s have been under flame due to treating their employees unfairly. Many have protested that this major corporation gives little to no benefits from working at McDonalds. For those who work at McDonalds for a living, receive very minimal raises such as 5 to 10 cents every six months. In reality, it appears almost impossible to raise a family and oneself with minimal wage and without working multiple jobs. Despite poor wages and benefits, protests have emerged to raise minimum wage and employee benefits through protests and strikes. Corporations major obsession with branding and profit inevitably denies the true quality of its workers. When thinking of America, McDonald is the frontier of a utopia fast-food burger restaurant that idolizes its brand logo “M” and its clown. McDonalds brand logo entitles a franchise that dominates the food industry, with disregard of its employees which often go unnoticed.

Wage Protest

Furthermore, Naomi Klein’s story of “No Logo,” criticizes the branded world we live in today of how corporate branding became a cultural manifesto. Klein erupted the idea of going against corporate branding and corrupt capitalism by disseminating corporate values of branding, advertising, exploiting, and capitalizing by acknowledging three major key arguments of No Jobs, No Choice, and No Space. Klein argues that advertising ones brand became more popularized than branding itself. The central argument is that corporations began to introduce the new items with the brand logo on it; however, it is indistinguishable from the old item just without the logo. During the machine age, corporations began to bloom in production and advertisement due to branding uniform mass produced products, which ranged from staples, cars, and many other products. Inevitably, advertising and branding changed the way people lived their lives and consumed products, believing the con that these new inventions will better their lives.

One prime example of global brand marketing is Nike. Nike certainly knows how to advertise a certain lifestyle rather than just dominating the market by selling shoes and athletic apparel. From commercials to poster ads, Nike adapted to different cultural tactics on appealing to the majority. In a world dominated by social media, Nike uses Twitter, Instagram, etc. in order to further expand their presence with the use of community binding hashtags alongside their popularized slogan, “Just Do It” in almost every media post. Also, Nike targets a wide variety of audiences of both male and females and children and adults. Nike is doing almost everything correctly in branding, globalizing, and incorporating a lifestyle to its audience.

Nike Women’s Sport Commercial

However, Nike’s superior complexity encourages people that they are the best in the business. It’s no common sense that when someone wants to buy an athletic shoe or apparel, they want Nike or often Adidas (Nike’s main competitor). In fact, this is exactly what Klein was targeting at, that branding such as Nike’s main goal is to eliminate their competitor and became the main source for all its products. This creates a fierce competition in new startup companies that are asking for their voices to be heard. In reality, most apparel or shoe is made out of the same material, sometimes enhanced material, that is suitable for whatever purpose it is used for, except Nike has a logo on theirs representing who they are.

One example that emulates Klein’s ideology of suppression against corporate branding and exploitation is that of future professional NBA player Lonzo Ball. Although most professional athletes take million-dollar endorsement deals by big brands such as Nike, Adidas, Under Armor, etc., Ball and his father decided to create their own brand, Big Baller Brand (BBB), at the preexistence of his professional basketball career — this is the first to ever be done by any athlete, especially at the mockable market price of his first signature shoe at $495 before playing his first professional game.

Lonzo Ball “ZO2” Mini Documentary

Lonzo Ball’s unprecedented personal branding forever changed the way athletes procreate themselves. Unlike other athletes like Kobe Bryant (Nike), Derrick Rose (Adidas), and Stephen Curry (Under Armor), Ball’s own brand, BBB, broke boundaries, rationally denying deals worth millions of dollars from companies such as Nike. Ball went against the social norm for rising basketball stars and demolished the perception of amateur expectations. Lavar Ball’s, Lonzo Ball’s father, purpose for creating the BBB was so that major corporations cannot exploit his son by branding his apparel and making even more money. If anybody were going to exploit Lonzo Ball, it is going to be Lonzo and his family. All in all, fear is no exception to blockade one from breaking boundaries and going against the norm. With any idea, one should be able to pursue their right to a successful career rather than becoming ultimate Dick and Janes of the world succumbing to the “idealistic” lifestyle corporations choose to advertise.