Friday, June 15, 2007

Editors and Brands .

Editors and Brands .
Andre Willers
15 June 2007

See previous “Prodigies” I to V , “Dehydration” , Itarin2” , “The Religious Experience and Proximal rewards “etc , etc .


Editors create Brands .

A Brand is a single label that encapsulates a very specific set of characteristics .

One very important characteristic is the level of trust in the editor . This is encoded in the brand , but since it is a meta-characteristic (ie describing the brand) , it usually decays much slower . The brand itself is dependant on the product , but the perception of the reliability of the Brand is spread over the end-users , which change very slowly.

Hence , a brand can be established quickly , but take a long time to die .

This is also why magazine editors are not the stars . They might create the Brand , but their role is always underemphasized . Old age instead of euthanasia .

Attention is drawn to brands like mitochondria , hippocampus , cortex , immune system , old age , religions , Readers digest , Encyclopaedia Brittanica , Ford , Microsoft , etc .

An Editor takes an overwhelming flood of information and channels it .
The destination of the information can be of three forms:
Null (ie wastebasket)
End-user (ie fits a Brand category)
Feedback (input needs some further work .) Circular feedback creates “clumps” of processing : ie Brands . For instance , some of the most effective advertising does not target the end-user , but this feedback process .

Examples of Brands :
Genes (DNA editors generate genes : ie clumps of DNA)
Chromosomes (phenotypes and cancers can be seen as chromosome editors)
Personalities ( John smith is the brand of a complex set of data and body)
Families (eg Hapsburg)
Societal memes (eg religions , science)
Companies (eg Ford)

As expected , the basic underlying neurological structure of humans plus the strictures of information-handling form a fractal landscape . Since apoptosis is essential and humans are mortal , it is also an iterative-cascade landscape .

The structure of a human neuron (with it’s many dendritic connections ) favours this on a hardware level .

A person or a face can be seen as a Brand .
It has been experimentally proved (via fMRI) that even a single neuron can recognise fairly complex Brands like faces ( honey bees can recognise human faces on a single neuron level) .

The corrollaries are obvious .

If fMRI shows that your brand (eg Coke , Napoleon , “Bridge over troubled waters” , etc ), fires up only one neuron , you have arrived .

The advantages are that an individual can navigate through quite complex information spaces using brands and the concommittant trust in the editor that he will be omitting and/or emphasizing only relevant data .

This process has been seriously abused by politicians in the 20th century . “Trust me . I’m the Fuhrer.”

But the flood of information has intensified since then . Complexification increases factorially with the number of input sources (ie population) .

People define themselves by societal and commercial brands .
“Prada meets Fiat” , “Pepsi Maserati” , “Gucci VW” makes sense to you , you poor thing . (Trust me , in a hundred year’s time you might as well be talking about the bee’s knees.)

Paradigm shift :
The trust in an editor becomes very important because there are so many authors . The risk of losing something original decreases , unless the author is many sigmas removed(ie very exceptional) .

A case study : Readers Digest .
The original editors were the founders (Wallace) . In the 1930’s people were faced with enormous changes: going from farmers to city-dwellers , flight , cars , cheap clothes , washing machines . As usual , there was the get-rich-artists , the doom-and-gloom merchants , crime , threats from foreign countries they never heard of before ,a major recession , politicians , etc . Each pumping out its own version of the truth .

The readers Digest brand is an Editors brand . In our terms , a moderated forum with a positive bias . All then available in cheap pocket-sized volume . Read what you like , disregard the rest .

But the facts were trustworthy and the bias known .

The Brand is very strong . People trust Readers Digest .

Department store is an analogue . A single management .
Fast forward to the present .
Cheap glossy specialist magazines (that you see on every stand) have sucked the readership away .

A Mall is the analogue .

In this process , the essence of the Brand got lost .

Can the Brand be salvaged?

Yes .

The competition for attention is enormous . “Readers Digest” still commands a cortical pause in visual scanning .

Unbundle the magazine into separate magazines with the brand of “Readers Digest”
Enhance the Editor (obviously an expert and fan in this particular aspect) .
(Refer to how Campbell did it with Astounding) .

In a really high intensity information flow , the editor becomes creative as well .
This is how your brain does it .


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