BOOKS: DECODING BRANDS - A system for mapping these special assets should prove useful, says Jeremy Myerson - 4D Branding, by Thomas Gad - FT Prentice Hall pounds 21.99

BOOKS: DECODING BRANDS - A system for mapping these special assets should prove useful, says Jeremy Myerson - 4D Branding, by Thomas Gad - FT Prentice Hall pounds 21.99 - This book is shot through with a missionary's zeal. Swedish author Thomas Gad makes

by JEREMY MYERSON, director of the Helen Hamlyn Research Centre atthe Royal College of Art

This book is shot through with a missionary's zeal. Swedish author Thomas Gad makes claims of biblical proportions for his system of mapping and understanding brands, ending with '10 commandments for a brand with a future'. God created the world in seven days but Gad turns one-dimensional brands into 4D brands in just one book. The immortal Richard Branson sets the tone in his foreword: 'Great brands touch people.' A long, sometimes rambling account of what is a succinct and serviceable concept follows.

Gad argues that branding represents the DNA of any organisation and to crack the genetic code we need to see a brand in four dimensions: functional (perceptions of a brand's tangible aspects); social (creating identification with a group); mental (supporting the individual in assessing products and services); and spiritual (local and global responsibility, ethical behaviour and so on).

Ikea is cited as the 4D brand to beat all others - on a functional level (practical designs at affordable prices); a social level (its homespun philosophy has built strong identification); a mental level (Ikea stores are choreographed to inform and entertain - Gad hasn't visited the one at Brent Cross); and a spiritual level (an ethos of economy, greenness and democracy).

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