Ontobranding: how reality promotes itself

September 18, 2009

Yesterday we had a meeting with Nello Barile and Andrea Miconi from Universitá IULM.

Nello’s paper “From post-human consumer to the ontobranding dimension” for forthcoming Mobile communication and social policy conference points to an interesting aspect how new social technologies together with consuming practices within these technologies can create certain ontobrands.

He writes:

To explain this connection between consuming, technology and geolocalized experience the theorists invented several formulas such as hyper-geography, hybrid ecologies and geotagging.

The idea of assigning an IP address to every square meter of our planet suggest that there will be a complete isomorphy between the net and the planet so that every movement in one dimension implies an immediate modification on the other. Every element of our urban and natural environment could be able to interact and dialogue with this integrated system and other system connected with it. In this way when the idea of a traditional branding strategy will be overcome by a sort of diffused kind of branding.

Nello claims that : “branding becomes a flexible and spread technology”.

He writes:

If the traditional branding was just a tool in the hands of companies to build their own image and positioning in the collective mind, the selfbrandig approach demonstrates how the marketing thought is a state of mind that produces an existential positioning

Unfortunately, Nello does not define clearly his ‘ontobranding’ idea, but i can see that it is exactly what we were doing in our Hybrid Narrative Ecosystem studies.

We wrote with Mauri in our forthcoming book-chapter for IGI Gobal “Participatory design experiment: Storytelling Swarm in Hybrid Narrative Ecosystem” that one representation of hybrid ecosystem is ontospace, which consists of ontodimensions – descriptive features of an entity within a domain of information (eg. cool, expensive, cheap, nice).
People take perspectives of ontodimensions that can be fixed with ontocoordinates in this ontological space (eg. i can prefer more cool but cheap dimensions).
Niche is such a range of ontodimension perspectives that certain community members jointly define in ontospace, that effectively meets their understandings, expectations, and behaviour. Practically, niche is an abstract communality of community members personal preferences and perspectives.
Niche defines a subspace in ontospace that constrains the personal selection of perspectives of each community member. (simply you don’t fit to this community if your perspective is out of this range).
We also claim that every person evokes affordances as perceived perspectives in ontospace when they interact within this hybrid space. So they are simultaneously keeping and shifting the community subspace in ontospace. (This can be imagined as brand shift, changes in fashion).
However, this activity is not centrally coordinated, but may appear in the swarming kind of behaviours. In swarming each individual relies on signals left by swarm members into the ecosystem (practically the geotagged content). Again, the more strong is the signal, the more likely it will be picked up and it becomes a brand.

For me this is how the ontobrand can appear. I don’t know if Nello Barile will agree with this explanation 🙂

Anyway, i think we can continue discussions with him.


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