In Image We Trust?

We place an awful lot of faith in businesses, in political parties, in politicians, in brands, in the Bible, in loud arrogant TV and radio personalities, in platitudes. But none of these things is infallible or perfect. No passage or platitude is a hard and fast rule that applies no matter what, especially when the source is a book as overtranslated as the Bible.

The really worthwhile businesses, brands, political parties never forget they have to earn the trust of the most common man. They never forget a relationship is built on repeated mutually beneficial and respectful transactions over time. They never forget they are accountable to their public and must communicate with respect. These brands and businesses are not easy to come by. They all want you to be impressed and claim they have standards, but alas….

I am discouraged when I see a corporation treat its well-behaved staff like suspects after one bad apple is caught embezzling, having an affair, you name it. 

I am discouraged when I see a business spend a lot of time and effort getting clients and bragging about how much business they handle. If I have to deal with one of these businesses about a mistake, I witness firsthand just how sloppily each transaction is handled, how many opportunities for screwups exist throughout the process. If they really had integrity about their operations they would have caught these issues themselves.

I am discouraged when a customer has to point out the flawed ways of a company to that company. United Breaks Guitars, brides with tattoos are treated poorly at David’s Bridal, many restaurant franchises with the simplest turnkey structure and major brand name fail at a location because they cannot hire and keep good staff.

I am discouraged when a brand gets involved in lawmaking, in order to codify its CEO’s religious beliefs into law that impacts every citizen’s lives, their healthcare access, their ability to have a family and care for that family. All the while they say to the public they don’t discriminate and anyone can patronize their stores. Um, maybe anyone can but you won’t see me giving you my money. Other major corporations champion literacy, adult GED programs, real inarguable societal problems. These are the businesses that get my money and my support.

I am discouraged when a brand drops the ball in a transaction with the common man, then adds to the pain with a delayed response, written with a cold, sociopathic tone. All the millions spent on an ad campaign, celebrity endorsements, charitable public relations arms are all frivolous, meaningless bullshit when these fails occur. It is also truly disgusting to watch a corporation, like the too big to fail banks, ruin individuals’ financial reputations by the thousands. When errors are pointed out, like how exactly does a bank foreclose on a house that was paid for? The corporations dismiss it as “oversight, inconvenience” when there are irreparable damages involved. These are disgusting understatements and a failure to be accountable for inarguable wrongdoing and doing irreparable harm to a common man.

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What’s really important to remember with any brand is upholding their image, status, and cashflow is the highest priority, all the time. It’s not their one on one dealings with the common man as much as their advertising and PR might claim that. Corporate greed and self-interest is like underwear–it’s ever present but no one needs to see it and be reminded about it.

The next time you find yourself putting a lot of trust in a brand, its worth a pause to ask yourself what they really do for you, do they care about what they do for you? do they even know your name and want your patronage? Could some other brand do better? could you do it for yourself? 

Belief is a powerful thing. Like any powerful thing, it must be used wisely.

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