Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Narcissistic Undertones

Vanity is generally accepted to be a bad thing. Because it carries with it narcissistic undertones, which many people generally look down upon. In conventional everyday language, vanity is the excessive belief in one's own abilities or even attractiveness. But vanity is not limited to individuals its also includes the world of business.

Consignia is a typical case of misplaced vanity. Do you remember Consignia, does it even stir any deep seated memories. I would not be surprised if its a name that you find meaningless. To help jog your memory, the centuries old Post Office was re-branded as Consignia. With much publicity, including advertisements on television, radio and whole pages in newspapers. A great deal of our money was expended upon the vanity of re-branding. The new name was intended to show that the old Post Office provided more serviced than just to deliver mail. However the change proved unpopular with both the public and employees. The old Post Office delivered your mail - and like another brand - it did just what it says on the tin.

Canal and River Trust is another case of misplaced vanity. Like Consignia, a great deal of our money was expended upon the vanity of re-branding. British Waterways was more than a name with some gravitas, it was the justified, proud boasting of another great British Institution. The name British Waterways was a statement of fact. Like many other proud British businesses of the time, British Airways, British Gas, British Railways and British Coal. All were household names and had that Britishness about them.

British Waterways been re-branded as Canal and River Trust (CaRT) and has been done at great expense. Yet the public and employees continue to use the name British Waterways or BW. In conversation the name British Waterways or BW comes naturally, and is then occasionally, consciously corrected to CART. No one says the Canal and River Trust - if anything they say CART.  To add to the confusion CaRT don't even want the small 'a' CaRT because want to be CRT. But there is still no getting away from the name, British Waterways or BW. It did and still does do that Britishness thing - just what it says on the tin.  

The Post Office quickly recognised their error and soon consigned 'Consignia' to the dustbin. All of the Consignia signs gradually disappeared over a short space of time, to be replaced once again by the Post Office signs. Like another brand - the Post Office reverted back to doing just what it says on the tin. It was a salutary lesson learned by some and was something to be avoided at all costs.

The Canal and River Trust could go back to being  British Waterways. Just by peeling the sticky labels off. In fact nature has already made a start in some places. Another much loved institution was the logo of British Waterways consisting of the arched canal bridge and reed mace. Once an instantly recognisable object. Now replaced by an instantly forgettable, look-a-like logo incorporating the arched wings of an angry swan. What's that subliminal message all about. 

So now, British Waterways has been thrown on the CaRT and the last bastion of Britishness has been CaRTed off. Leaving the much loathed CART or CaRT to be used as the butt of jokes for years to come. The Cycling Angling Rambling Trust and many more, all being made up to fit the acronym. All being typical of the boaters viewpoint - maybe CaRT now dressed in its new kings clothes, does after all do what it says on the tin!

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