In early times people’s animals grazed on common land and were distinguished from those belonging to different people by use of marks burned into their hides. This process is known as branding. Modern livestock branding is less damaging to the hide and is done by freezing the skin in a distinguishing pattern or with a number. Where the hide has been burned, or frozen, hair does not grow back and thus the animals are marked. Animal branding has existed since the times of Ancient Egypt and continues today. Branding humans has been used to identify criminals, as punishment, to indicate ownership of slaves, and most recently to “decorate” the skin.
The other day I was sitting at the kitchen table and just happened to notice the brand name on my cereal box. As I continued looking around I saw: Froot Loops, Splenda, Kraft, Frigidaire, French’s, Kahi, Orville Redenbacher’s, Sobeys, Air Miles, Magic Chef, Proctor-Silex, Magic Bullet, World Vision, Kenmore, Macleans, and XM without moving from my seat. When I looked up information on branding for this post almost all the hits that came up were for commercial branding, brand names, not livestock branding. Most of us are not branded with an identifying number but we are certainly branded!
We wear brand names on our clothing, carry them on our coffee cups, have them marked on our cars. Even our “no-name” brands have developed into brands. Not only do we spend more money for brand name clothing, but we advertise for them at the same time by having the brand name in big letters on the front!
Is there a way to beat the branding? Short of making all our own textile products, furniture, etc. and growing and cooking all our food from scratch I don’t think we can do it. Even at Kings Landing, a nineteenth century historical village, there are Enteprise stoves, and Fawcett stoves, different brands of china, and brand named carriages and farm machinery. I think the best we can really do is to be careful of our own personal brand. I need to be aware of what being Cathy Scott says about me, the image I project to the world needs to be more than the companies from whom I buy goods and services. The only brand I want to project is love, how about you?