A lot of marketing terms, and business language in general, is definitely not vegan friendly. I never fully understood that myself until writing a vegan guide to marketing. When we talk about strategy and tactics these terms come directly from the language of war, from mapping-out the battlefield. Terms that we use which are commonplace today hide their original animal-based origin. As an example, let’s think about the word ‘branding’. In a business sense, your brand is how you present your company, including your logo and the colours you use. But originally the word comes from the Norse word ‘Brandr’ which means ‘to burn’, and which was first used to scorch marks of ownership into the skin of animals. Making marks by scarring their skin with a heated implement (i.e. ‘branding’) is sadly still an act of violence forced upon animals across the world today.
The further you look into the language we use today, like the milk powder listed as an ingredient in a bag of crisps, the more you find unwelcome animal derivatives. We talk about finding a hook for your marketing message, which is directly from fishing. We talk about targeting, luring, scoping out, even setting the bait, which are all hunting terms. We cast our nets, we herd customers. Even talking about backing a winner has its roots in horse-racing. None of them are the language of compassion. Do we need to change this? Yes, I think we probably do. Can we find vegan versions of terms such as branding that are as powerful? We can’t find them, but perhaps we can create them. I nearly did precisely that for this course, but then realised it would be confusing for first-time marketeers. People instantly know what I mean when I talk about a brand, and it has become so far removed from its origin that most people don’t consider the meaning of the word. Can we find as strong a term and concept but with more a more positive origin? I would welcome the conversation and to hear your ideas.
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