A brand can be a powerful thing.
You can attach things to it. You can make it say something, or represent something. And that can be something other than the truth.
Once you’ve successfully linked it to your concept of choice you can then sear the whole package onto people’s brains – through repetition, oversimplification, and the use of memorable phrases and images.
Again, the truth isn’t something to worry about here.
The beauty is that social media offers the perfect platform to do this. Shiny and memorable can easily trump detailed and accurate.
And you end up with something like “Brexit.”
If the referendum of 2016 had been about the “UK withdrawal from the European Union” lots of people who tend not to vote would have stayed at home.
This old language describes the complicated and tangled process for what it is.
It begs questions like “what are we voting for?”, and “how would we practically do this?”, and “would this actually make us better off?”
These are the right questions, but in a slick and shouty world they just don’t cut the mustard.
People felt strongly about this. And there were vested interests. And money and power was at stake. So the PR and marketing men got involved and we ended up voting on “Brexit.”
It’s snappy, it fits snugly into your soundbite of choice, and it’s quite aggressive. It’s a concept you can really vent your anger about, and it’s how Brexit won.
Brexit is banning immigrants and sticking two fingers up to Brussels, lashing out and taking control, and fighting back about the way things are.
Who needs to hear about pros, cons, or consequences, when you’ve got a big bus with writing down the side of it?
Without “Brexit”, Brexit would never have happened.
And it still might not.
Because when we voted on what we voted on we hadn’t really agreed what we were voting on.
(Image: By Rlevente [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons)