A propos, it occurs to me to wonder whether racial profiling involves a kind of "branding"? "Illegals" might be branded by the color of their skin, the clothes they wear... What do you think?
My friend, the artist Gary Lloyd over at CHI SPHERE sent me some thoughts, which I think bear on this notion. He wrote:
I've worked in the branding industry for 25 years but think it's been with us since we began to make marks.
My friend works as a physical anthropologist and identifies early marks and symbols as well as those used today in still existing isolated tribes. Identity and quality are survival tools used to come to quick choices re food, flight or flight, safety or risk etc.
It often takes the place of introspection or discovery as long as the archetypal mark is easy to relate to and has previous reinforced experiences related to the image.
Artists risk the stigma of branding themselves too early in their development. It really pissed Rothko off when a collector asked for "5 more purple ones", thinking that they were painted like shirts are manufactured.
I know many artists who had a good idea, worked through it and when the concept was exhausted changed to investigate another way of working only to be dropped by their dealers for not making more of the same.
Remember 'The New Coke'? Even corporate giants can't change once the branding has taken.