Branding is a bad word for many, but for the fun of it, let’s look at one random description of what branding is, that I found online: “Simply put, your brand is your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be.”
Now let us substitute brand with personality and maybe while we’re at it, change all the other marketing words with similar ones, used to describe people: “Simply put, your personality is your promise to your friends and acquaintances. It tells them what they can expect from your actions and beliefs. Your personality is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be.”
And while I feel this example may prove little to those who do not like the idea of marketing ones art – and neither is this post meant to change anyone’s mind – I merely wish to show how our ideologies can affect our beliefs in a practical way. I am certain that most of the people, who don’t like the words branding, marketing or advertisement, would have no strong issues with the message of the second version. And while I am sure the substitutions I made can be questioned, I don’t believe any meaning was lost or profoundly changed. Because while branding may be a better word to describe a bunch of sport-loving people (a corporation like Nike for example), its meaning is more or less the same as when I use the word personality to describe a friend’s religious attitude towards running.
And it’s the same with the word ideology; the term was coined by Antoine Destutt de Tracy in 1796 while in prison. Due to the terrible state France was in during the revolution, Tracy wanted ideology to stand for a clean, logical state of ideas, to oppose the irrational impulses of the people at that time. But when Napoleon used his term to shun his liberal foes, ideology became something bad – as bad as the horrible ideologs, who spread such nonsense. And Karl Marx only further developed the misuse of the term, when writing about the bourgeoisie. And after that we had (and sadly still do) Nazism, Fascism, Sexism and all the other isms of the 20th century that only made it more clear, that people with ideologies were mindless sheep, guided by cruel and destructive ideas. And yet, Tracy only wanted to have an expression to be used in a neutral way, to mean an arrangement of ideas and to promote logic and understanding.
But branding isn’t a slogan, made by the twenty-first century capitalists ideologs (unlike PR, that actually has its evil roots, but I’ll leave this for another time) to promote selling your creative soul to help Monsanto hide its radioactive skeletons under green pastures and happy farmer’s faces, the same as personality isn’t a tool to lie about who you are or who I want to be in anyone’s eyes. A brand, the same as a person, is a genuine quirky hat, a sincere thank you and a regular hello to anyone, who knows us, and as artists (or any professionals really), we should embrace the sincerity of it, rather than just shun the whole idea of a brand, only because it leaves a certain aftertaste in our mouths, just because it doesn’t sound as human as personality. Because it is all just personality, just not one in particular, but rather built upon thousands or tens of thousands of individuals, who share the same goal.