Beware trendy branding buzzwords for processes that already exist, warns David Bernstein. The jargon is often used to tart up a disappointing product.
There is a difference between naming and inventing. Just because we find words for something doesn’t mean that it wasn’t there before we articulated it. ‘Corporate identity’, for example, is 40 years old, but companies have always had identities. A company may not know it has one, just as Monsieur Jourdain in Molière’s play is surprised to discover that he has been speaking prose for more than 40 years without realising it. Every company has an identity, whether or not it employs a writer to express it or a designer to give it visual form.
Here’s part of a writer’s profile of a travel company: ‘He has made travel easy. He will sell you a ticket to any place on the globe… and give you all the time you need and more besides… [he] is your banker everywhere and his establishment your shelter when you get caught in the rain.’