14 Nov

It’s Time to Abolish Branding

I know, every marketing and public relations professional learned in our college introductory class that “Branding” is at the core of much of our work. But it should not be. The term “Branding” should go the way of the “N” word the phrase “Master Bedroom”.

Let me explain:  I was introduced to branding as a child growing up on my dad’s cattle farm in rural Alabama. Cows were submitted to the painful process of having fiery hot metal in a unique shape applied to their hides to mark ownership. The same technique was applied to slaves by their American slave-masters. Dictionary definitions of ‘brand’ include: an identifying mark burned on livestock or criminals or slaves. As we tear down monuments to racists, we should also move away from outdated verbiage like Red Skins, Aunt Jemima, and Branding. 

I suggest more suitable verbiage: Superpower, Identifier, Reputation, Personality, Distinction, Essence, Identity, Difference, Persona, or Offering. Each is more correct and appropriate.

Most readers were unaware of the origin of the word “Brand”. That’s OK; you can’t be responsible for unwilful ignorance. The question becomes: now that you know better will you do better? Will you become a Superpower Ally or a Complicit Brander?