Branding and service design meet like ‘Me’ and ‘I’

Branding and service design relate to each other like ‘Me’ and ‘I’. What does that mean? According to George Herbert Mead (1863–1931), American philosopher, psychologist and sociologist, the person has two aspects: ‘Me’ and ‘I’.


‘Me’ is the socialised aspect of the person that is learned and developed in interaction with others and the environment — constituted by internalising other people’s attitudes. ‘Me’ is the cumulated self-reflection, the sense of self. That is my perception, the person I believe I look to others who know me.


The other aspect of the person is the active one. ‘I’ acts creatively and spontaneously within the context of “Me”. Mead emphasises that ‘it’s only after we have acted that we know what we have done… what we have said.’ That’s myself in a specific situation not totally controlled by the perception others have about “Me”.

‘Me’ is strategic ‘I’, it shows the way for ‘I’, it holds back ‘I’ from breaking the norm of the community, ‘Me’ dictates policies and protocols for ‘I’.

Why is this important to us?

Just like a person, a brand also has a reflective and a constituted self: the strategically built and communicated one and the one that is presenting itself in a specific interaction. That’s why a brand has to deal with service design — and service design has to deal with the brand.

When we meet a corporate service brand on any channel, we participate in service processes followed and executed by representatives of the brand. When we enter these processes, we enter with a perception in our mind, an expectation that has an obvious affect on our behaviour and reactions. Brands are building these expectations through communication — it’s the voice of ‘Me’. But all our interactions, bad or good experiences with ‘I’ have an affect on how we might think about the brand. We measure and feel the difference between our expectations and the experiences we get.

That’s why we’ve decided to build a joint team together to curate this blog and share experiences, thoughts, failures and successes here from a joint branding — service design perspective.

“Me” and “I” will be partnering and reflecting on each other in this intellectual challenge. In the meanwhile our first experiences show this perspective means a business potential too.

Business | love | design

[Quotes are from Mind, self, and Society, Ed by Charles W. Morris. University of Chicago Press., 1934, ISBN 978–0–226–51668–4]

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