Understanding brands better through intuition

This post is associated to, and an expansion of, my previous post Beta Brands and the Rolling Stones, and is intended as a pause for thought on brands and how we understand them. The approaches discussed are far from fully formed or realised but they are intended to inspire thought.

In a previous post mentioned I discussed how brands are not spacial entities. Yes various elements of a brand exist spacially, such as the products, visual designs, people, but the brand itself if taken as being the values, beliefs and purposes does not. A brand exists temporally and in so doing cannot be fully understood in spacial terms but must be considered both in its historical process and as part of its current environment. In other words –

The current form of a brand is co-constituted by its history, its present environment, and its potential futures.

In relation to brands existing temporally in order to understand brands better we must search for a way to consider temporality rather than spacially. This is where we can look to Bergson, and more recently Kember and Zylinska, and the definitions of intellect and intuition. Bergson discussed how the intellect considers spacially, how intellectually we cut temporal processes up in to static things in order to see them (photos, for example). This is of course vital to every-day living and establishing relations.

However, if we are to consider a brand in continuous, durational terms then we need to also consider intuition.

‘Instead of a discontinuity of moments replacing one another in an infinitely divided time, it will perceive the continuous fluidity of real time which flows along, indivisible’ (Bergson, H. 1946: 127).

Intuition is a method by which we can consider brands better, a way of using ambiguous, but relevant, forms of metaphor and comparison to paint a picture which cannot fully be explained intellectually. What intuitive thinking will allow are considerations of a brand as a whole, not as slices in time. Intuition can not, and should not, replace intellect but it can give a more full a picture if not dismissed entirely in preference of facts and figures.

As I said at the beginning of this post these are thoughts on brands which are in process, they aren’t intended to be an ‘answer’ to anything but just to be thought-provoking. If you are interested in this approach to intellect and intuition then I have added a short reading list below of work which will explain some of the key points so briefly covered in this simple introductory post.

I find our ‘Western’ obsession with intellectual knowledge and dismissal of intuitive thinking depressing, and I believe that it stifles creativity. However, people far more knowledgable than me have written about this already.

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” Einstein


Bergson, H. (1946) The Creative Mind. An Introduction to Metaphysics, New York: Citadel Press Bergson, H, (2007) [fp 1911] Creative Evolution, Mineola, New York: Dover Publications, Inc. Deleuze, G. (2002) ‘Intuition as Method’, Bergsonism, trans. Tomlinson, H. and Habberjam, B., New York: Zone Books Grosz, E. (2004) ‘Intuition and the Virtual’, The Nick of Time. Politcs, Evolution, and the Untimely, Durham and London: Duke University Press Books

Kember, S. and Zylinska, J. (2012) Life After New Media: mediation as a vital process, Cambridge, Massachusetts and London, England: The MIT Press

Originally published at brandinprocess.com.

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