Agonistic brand channels

Posted on: May 9, 2010

If the brand is an argument in favour of the product, what if the consumer disagrees? Simply, s/he can be heard and taken account of, or go elsewhere.

Chantal Mouffe’s theory of agonistic pluralism tells us aiming for rational consensus in political debate is flawed. In fact, she writes that extremism in liberal western democracies is directly related to a lack of agonistic channels – routes by which dissent and alternative views may reach the centre. 

  • The ‘broadcast’ brand was conceived for products within a one-to-many mass media communications environment: a message tailored to reach and influence the most lucrative segment in a market.
  • In contrast, the ‘social’ product may be conceived within a many-to-many communications environment where consumers communicate directly with product makers, and with other consumers (within earshot of product makers).

If ‘the brand’ must persist it can no longer rely upon a single message. Without agonistic brand channels – that is multiple streams of communication input, output and adaptation in response to consumer feedback, desire and usage, consumers will become antagonised. Antagonised consumers belittle and berate products, and /or go elsewhere.

Not happy with AT&T image by Jason-Morrison


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