As someone who is proud of his Irish heritage, there’s a part of me that understands why so many Scots are for independence as they vote today whether or not to split from the United Kingdom. The Irish and Scots have always shared a certain brotherhood as the “other” situated next to Britain.
As someone who sees everything through the lens of brand, I understand it even more.
Now, I’m not necessarily advocating for independence because it’s a thorny issue. A vote for independence may prompt economic ruin, many economists say, while the pro-independence supporters say Scotland will be better equipped to take advantage of its oil & gas and tourism revenues without paying the UK taxes.
From what I’ve read, the economic risk is real and that fear is what is driving the anti-independence push. But what’s driving the pro-independence movement is the brand of Scotland, a brand that is powered by pride, authenticity and a longing to reverse the decision of the British social class that voted for the union in the 1700s without Scottish consent. (Read an article on branding in nation building here)
Think about this. The rational side says that Scotland should vote to keep the union. Therefore, to vote for independence, you may be voting against your own best interests.
No matter how the vote turns out today, even a close vote will demonstrate the power of a brand. A vote for independence is practically the definition of a powerful brand: You will inconvenience yourself to be a part of it because the brand is a natural reflection of your own sense of self.
If companies would only develop brands that powerful, then they would steal market share because a large portion of consumers would be unable to pick another product. It would be emotional suicide to go against their personal brand.
Brand can change history.