When Marathon Bars were rebranded to become Snickers, I never ate another bar.
I really enjoyed Marathon bars as a kid, yet when they were rebranded I wouldn’t eat the replacement Snickers bar. What was my reason? I didn’t like the name. It may have been exactly the same bar of chocolate as I had and enjoyed before, all that had changed was the name, but that to my childhood mind was reason enough not to buy it.
It didn’t matter a jot that it was exactly the same chocolate, and I am sure I would have enjoyed it just as much if I had eaten one. Yet here I am more than 26 years later and a Snickers bar still has never passed my lips.
That is what is known as brand loyalty, and brands are highly important things in the advertising world, and a heap of money is thrown into advertising when introducing and/or changing a brand.
Brands have psychological attachments to them and are hugely important to us. We emotionally attach to brands, and over time well loved brands carry memories which we invest in them. Brands are symbolic, and symbols are powerful messages to us, and we react quicker to them than the written or oral word, hence why you have road signs.
When you are looking at adverts, you take in the symbols much more quickly than anything else you see or hear.
Changing a brand is a huge thing to do, and requires a heck of a lot of thinking and planning to be able to successfully do without losing your customers. Any change has to be done gradually and not suddenly, as people are extremely resistant to sudden change. Indeed people are naturally wary of any change at all. People like surety and continuity and view change as a potential threat which they have to adapt to.
If you are going to affect change, it is best to do so in small increments so people don’t really notice the change going on round about them,and naturally react and adjust to it.
Why am I banging on about Brands, Symbols and Change? Quite simply to try and demonstrate the extreme difficulty in changing peoples minds away from the UK towards an Independent Scotland. Have you found that some people appear to accept the arguments why Independence should be the right option for them, and then when you think you might be getting through to them you are suddenly hit with a brick wall and they shake their heads and say no. They may even tell you that they appreciate what you are saying and understand that your argument is sound, but they come out with something like ” my heart says yes but my mind says no” They know you are talking sense, but can’t force themselves to take a chance or make the change.
What is that all about? well attachment to the brand and what it stands for in their minds is paramount. Some would digest rat poison if it carried the brand name.
When you go to the shops, what do you buy? Many people will fill their baskets full of brand items and nothing else. They trust the brand names. Yet many brands are also sold under supermarket labels at cheaper prices. The same product just branded differently. Some people even if they knew that the supermarket product was really their favourite brand still wouldn’t buy it, and they would buy the dearer brand label instead.
This is one of the greatest obstacles that the Independence movement faces, particularly with the older generations who have grown up from childhood with the British brand. Do you remember the old adverts telling you to buy British because the goods were trusted?
It is this branding and its imprinting from childhood in your brain which gives so many otherwise rational people an almost unshakable attachment to the Union flag and all things British. They are brainwashed.
Take the sudden upsurge of tv programmes over the past few years which have the word “British” or “Britain” in them, they are suddenly everywhere you look… Great British Bake off, Britains got talent, Great British conker rolling..ok I made that one up, but you get my drift. British everywhere you look, and never in a negative connotation.
Scottishness on the other hand is treated somewhat differently, for decades and generations if Scotland or anything to do with Scotland was mentioned, more often than not it was in a negative sense or for poking fun at. Take for instance tv crime dramas….any time that one of these had a random Scot in it, I would know instinctively who the culprit was going to be, I didn’t need to watch the plot at all. If Scots weren’t the baddies they were the clowns and idiots. So Britishness was good, Scottishness not good.
The same applies to the Union flag branding. In recent years from Royal occasions through 2 Olympics, Great War Celebrations etc we have been absolutely bombarded by Union flags at every turn. The Union flag representing cause for celebration and success.
The Saltire on the other hand is treated entirely differently, it has been refused to be flown or projected by the British establishment and Unionist supporting local councils on a number of occasions. The Red Arrows often do their displays using the red, white and blue of the Union flag, but not so long ago they were asked to mark an occasion with the blue and white of the Saltire, and the request was flatly turned down!
A couple of major supermarkets removed the Saltire from Scottish product packaging and replaced them with Union flags.
Yet conversely when it suits British/English companies and partys, in Scotland they will endeavour to assimilate and add Scottish in front of their names… The Scottish Daily Mail, The Scottish Sun, The Scottish Labour Party. None of them run from Scotland but from England, and that ultimately where their branch offices up here take their instructions from.
All of this brain washing has been going on from the days of Culloden, so it is absolutely no wonder that it can be so difficult to change some peoples minds.
On the much more positive side….ever since the start of the Indyref campaign, Scots have more and more become happier within themselves and more positive about Scotland and being Scots.
As much as anything else, our battle for Independence is a battle of Identity and turning round ingrained mindsets takes time. We have come a long long way to rectifying that since 2012, but we still have a bit to go yet. And we will meet ever stiffer resistance along the way from the British establishment. We cannot expect fairness or an even playing field, and there is no lie that they will not tell, nor dirty trick they will not play in order to hold their possession of us in the Union. We just need to battle harder against them. We need to get to the older generations not on the internet but face to face…. To borrow from Christianity…we have to become missionarys and evangelists to our own people to get them to believe in Independence ( I know that such expression will be an athema to some people but in the most basic sense they simply mean getting the message out and persuading others who are not convinced to come round to your side) …and that starts right now! We do not have long before we are thrown headlong into another Independence campaign…and this one we MUST win!
We can chat among ourselves and convince like minded souls that we are right, we can spend hours on twitter and Independence facebook sites, but we are convincing nobody by doing that.
when I go around the country I still see many old Yes signs in the most unusual places and it always brings a smile to my face.
So lets fill Scotland from the Highlands to the Borders with Saltires everywhere, and on our cars.
The Saltire is Our Brand…. Fly it with Pride!
Snickers or Marathon are a product which contains nuts and can be deadly for those alergic to nuts.
Much like the Union flag and Britishness can be deadly to Scots