The word “brand” has roots to cattle getting branded on their hide with their number or the ranch’s name. It was a literal marking of who they belonged to.
This idea is a problematic one as we seek to live a life of autonomy and truth.
However, branding is highly integrated into our everyday living. It is hard to walk down the street without seeing a brand on what someone is wearing (even our masks are branded!). Or to walk through someone’s home without getting an idea of that person through the electronics they own or the ceramics they use. A brand has come in our culture to denote some sort of status.
We tell ourselves a story about who we are (or aren’t) due to the brands we buy.
I shop at Pottery Barn Kids and so this means I am a good mom.
It can help us create community.
I bought coffee from the (insert name of local café) and you did too. This means WE are discerning and like artisanal, hand blended coffee and we’d probably also have interesting conversations about ________.
But it can and does create division.
I have an Audi and you have a Kia, this means I am cooler and wealthier than you.
You have Ray Ban sunglasses and I got mine at the local dollar store, this means I am poorer and not as fashionable as you.
And this division is often in the form of I/we am better and you are worse OR I am worse and you all are better but more importantly – it is ALL SUBJECTIVE.
Branding is a bunch of mind games and we can’t always blame it on the company. We, as consumers, sometimes willingly create the beast and then continue to feed it. Take a read through this fascinating article on Rae Dunn’s cult-like following and see how you identify with these suburban housewives.
I write everyday because it allows me to voice what is at the surface. Once that is out of my head, I can dig in another layer deeper. My daily writing practice has been my greatest exploration of self and humanity. Sign up here to receive these thought nuggets in your inbox on the daily.