Mammoth consulting firm KPMG has changed their name to BearingPoint. They are trying to dodge the accounting scandal stigma by separating their consulting from their auditing components.

Enjoy a few highlights from a corporate video on the re-branding:

“We make things happen. We don’t bring problems, we bring results.”
“We integrate and collaborate.”
“We deliver on our promises with an attitude of ‘whatever it takes’.”
“We have a presence – an intensity.”
“We know how to think on our feet and we know how to make it happen – now.”
“We don’t walk – we run.”

You just can’t make stuff like that up (well, eNormicom can).

This is obviously reminiscent of Andersen Consulting’s name change to Accenture (“Innovation Delivered”). Apparently Andersen was forced to change their name due to a court ruling. They too have embarrassing corporate videos on their site highlighting their “Brandstorming Initiative” (again, you just can’t make this stuff up).

Maybe Acts of Volition should rebrand and reposition our stragetic role the blogspace. Any ideas? Let’s brandstorm!


18 thoughts on “Brandstorming

  1. Having been subject to branding consultancy brainstorming in my past, it is not surprising that gems like “we don’t walk – we run” are used but it is surprising that branding and the use of such nonsensical vacuous language is not immediately responded to with general ridicule as opposed to client loyalty. If one of the principles of professionalism is a degree of mystification of the sevice provided, one can assume that such language is intended to impress but not fully inform. Just which rocketeer of a client could be impressed, however, by this claptrap – like most branding – is beyond me. Once the current period of incarceration of the image-based elite (CFO-managers-heros, Martha-gurus) gets into full force, perhaps there will be a concurrent move from the empty language that foisted them to their teetering business pedestals.

  2. I wondered this too Al (who is fooled by this?). George Bernard Shaw said that “all professions are conspiracies against the common folk.” (I wrote a bit about this in an article about developing client content – scroll down to The Jargon Conspiracy).

    I can understand how people are mistified by doctors, lawyers, pilots, and anyone technology-related (“XML – to the x-treme!“), but is anyone fooled by “We don’t walk – we run.”? By the way, in the video, this line is set to a hilarious bit of stock footage of two running business-people handing-off a briefcase as if it were a baton in an olympic relay. Gold!

  3. Another aspect of the ills of branding and the misuse of language is that is dissuades communication about actual attributes. When some firm accurately describes their products or services and have success in the market place, language which confirms this is the language of reputation. Branding disguises both poor and postive reputation through abstraction. We are numbed to the message through the wolfcry of brand. The recent use of street hawkers in cities to “spread the word” about a product (Paul Weller used taxis in London to sell his new CD) is almost an honest admission of the flaw of brand as people rely on asking those they know to find what has value. [Whether this has newness to it or is only a restatement of how people always really determine what is important is not clear to me.]

  4. Andrew – your comment “I must say, that video is very well done… and convincing” reminded me at a far different scale of the experience I had in grade 11.

    The teacher showed the Nazi propaganda film “The Triumph of the Will” in which Hitler’s cult of personality was being presented by a brilliant film maker [whose name escapes me but who I believe is still alive.] At one point, Adolf is merrily tickling the chin of a kid and the girl next to me in class starts laughing along with nice guy Hitler. The manipulation was so well done she was being moved along with uncle A. Natural susceptability to utter manipulation.

  5. Not to start a completely different thread, but “The Triumph of the Will” is an amazing example of the power of film and propaganda. It was directed by Leni Riefenstahl, who wasn’t a member of the Nazi party, just a very talented filmmaker, who never recovered from her association with this movie.

    I’m impressed that you were shown this in high school Alan – I think they still should. If you haven’t seen this, its worth trying to find. Not only for a scary look at the power that Hitler had over people, put how this film magnifies it.

    Then, compare it to some of the americian propoganda films of the time, mostly produced by Hollywood, like “Don’t Be a Sucker“.

    The difference in purpose, and effectiveness is huge. The americians were making the Nazi’s evil monsters. And the Germans were making Hitler a god.

  6. Len Barak was the teacher’s name – he also instigated the late 1980’s flight of a bunch of my friends to teach in Eastern Europe soon after the wall came down.

    He also had us do the Nurenburg trial in class. I was cast as Gobbels and was able to proved myself innocent to the jury. This was overruled by my still pal Bruce who – from the bench – convinced his fellow judges to hang me anyway out of an abundance of caution.

  7. Alan, I said it was convincing, but I did not say I actually bought it. A lot of nazi propaganda is also convincing, but my morals tell me other wise… I’m not an easy sell, it takes more then a video clip to 100% convince me.

  8. Andrew – in my tangent, you were me by analogy witnessing the convincing, not the ditzy classmate being convinced…sorry if that was unclear…

  9. I think George Orwell would have a lot to say about this video if he were living in this day and age. It’s basically just a bunch of smarmy images cut together, images of what the business world expects and wants itself to be. These images are just like the hackneyed, stale, overused snippets of language that Orwell talks about in his essay, both in how impactless and meaningless they are, and in the fact that really, they dictate the meaning of the video.

    Guess what this means. BearingPoint, like most businesses making propoganda, really has nothing of substance to say. 🙂

  10. Semi-related, here is a direct quote from the back of the Houston Astros’ 2001 media guide where a full-page ad for Enron was located:

    “Sometimes it’s the things you don’t see that make the biggest difference.”

  11. Len Barak. He cast me as Goering and sure enough, I avoided a hanging and was sent to solitary confinement. I viewed it as a victory. Especially considering Mary, the defense attorney, hoarded all the books on Nuremburg from our local library and the prosecution nearly wiped me out on day one so I fired her and represented myself with such winning arguments as “How do you know it’s me in that picture?”.

Comments are closed.