Mayo. Tissue. Bologna.

bushshshsh treestump


It is a funny word if you say it out loud.  Like three times. Brand. Brand. Brand.

So, yes, brand.
Like, brand a cow?  No.
Brand new?  Not that either.
What brand is it?  Yes.  THAT brand.

We all have our brands, don’t we?  Most of us still stick by the brands we grew up with.  One that comes to mind immediately in our family (and a lot of others), is Hellmann’s Mayonnaise.    Mayo and Hellmann’s were synonymous.  We knew no other.

And when we tasted something that used another kind of mayonnaise, or something like Miracle Whip… we spotted it with tastebud number one.  No bowl of potato salad was safe.

We always had Kahn’s bologna, Velveeta Cheese, Charmin toilet paper, Puff’s tissues, Crest toothpaste, Coppertone sun lotion, Morton salt, Bisquick, Mike Sell’s pretzels and chips, and the list goes on and on.   Most of those products were probably were deep-seated in the Bob Braun Show advertising schematics.  My Mom loved Bob Braun.

For a long time now….. branding has been a big dang deal in this world. Obviously.    Branding is one of the most important aspects of any business, large or small.   If somebody has an effective brand strategy …  they have an edge.

Simply put, THAT brand is the company’s promise to us….. the customer.  We know what to expect from a certain product.

Recently, I had to pick up tissues at the grocery.  As mentioned, Puff’s are my go-to tissue.  Kleenex is pretty okay too.  But on that day… standing there in aisle 9…  I picked up the “store brand.”  The box said 2-ply.  My Puff’s say 2-ply.  My Puff’s say Ultrasoft.  Hey… so does the store brand.  So I bought not 1, not 2, but 3 boxes.

Kronenberger… you big dumb head.  When I got home and opened them up to replace the empty box in the guest bathroom, I grabbed on and blew my nose.  Test dummy.

I won’t make that mistake again.  I could tell immediately that this 2-ply was held to a different standard than my Puff’s 2-ply.    Lesson learned.

The other part of branding is marking something so that it is easily identifiable.  Like branding the aforementioned cow.

But sometimes, in life, we brand people.  We think someone is a certain way… so in our minds… we put a mark on them… and they are forever associated with this.

And sometimes this isn’t quite fair.

It is mostly unfair, because all  of our thoughts are viewpoints.  They are our personal perspectives.  How we view our own lives, and the lives and behaviors of others, is really our opinion, our viewpoint, our vantage point.  It is guided and influenced by all our past experiences, rolled into everything we see.

So before we brand someone, or something, we might want to look deeper within.  You know… to check in with our inner selves on this matter.  Maybe we should challenge our very own views.  And if they still seem to line up okay with our hearts, and our minds… then perhaps we look to a gentler, easier way.  Maybe we don’t use the hot iron to brand someone… but instead… one of those little carnival tattoos, that wash off in the shower after  couple of times.

I guess for me… the bottom line is…  It is probably okay to use brands with our favorite products… but maybe not-so-okay to put brands and labels on people.