I am fascinated by what might lie behind concept holding words which come into common usage, perhaps replacing words which were previously used.
A particular such, which makes me SPIT in disgust and contempt (ok, I don’t really spit, but the disgust and contempt is very real) is the concept of BRAND as in brand loyalty.
I can understand the concept of company loyalty, based on the meaning of a word. Company, whether or not a PARTICULAR company in the organisational, business field embraces these concepts or not, is a lateral, inclusive, equality imbued concept. Linguistic connections abound – ‘com’ with ‘comme’ like/alike – companion, companionship, compadre, comrade. It is a concept which is about live, living beings – generally human. We don’t think of company as a group noun for inanimate objects. A company of shoes, or saucepans, for example.
The above image is an illustration of the creativity, the individuality and the collectivity of ‘com’ – the with, equal nature of company. Not that every company dances and sings, but still……………………
I CAN have loyalty to a company I might work for because my companionship will be linked to those compatriots I work with. It is a human, shared, concept, holding the intangible – fellow feeling (that other, powerful, com word – compassion)
Companies grow and often then become corporate. Conceptionally, in my mind, a bad move. Already, there is a diminishment in the human scale. Corpus, of the body. The intangible is already leaking away, dead (corpse) What happened to the dynamic warmth of company? All we have now is something which is more mechanical. The corporeal is easier to objectivise, Company is a you and me, an us. Corporation is subject, object. Where is the spirit of companionship in that corporation?
Without any sense of irony, the corporate speak talks not about loyalty to ‘the company’ – that is you and me, compadre, but loyalty to ‘the brand’ Somehow, the human has become the thing. So ‘brand loyalty’ becomes not just wanting me as a consumer to buy what she sells rather than what he sells, but working within an organisation, workers may be asked also to demonstrate ‘brand loyalty’. ‘My brand right or wrong’ Brand used as synonymous with what once was company
The brand implies something owned. Its about possession. It reeks of authoritarian hierarchy. The rancher brands his cattle, to show he owns them. Convicts were branded to show the crimes they had committed that offended those who judged them.
The brand is a mark of humiliation
How curious, and how very very apt that The Brand is the concept of the corporate world.
No, I have no brand loyalty. Only to my own spit, and of course to my compadres.