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Changing Labels for New Associations

I remember when re-labeling certain professions was fashionable. Janitors became Custodial Technicians. Why? Because when you thought of a janitor you thought of that guy at school who mopped the floors because he dropped out of school, used the word ‘ain’t’ and looked like a loner.  Somehow we realized, or someone realized that if you change the title you changed the imagery and perception that is associated with the old word. Suddenly, you put that old image aside and that janitor has a new level of sophistication and respect because the new title congers up what the words have affiliated with them.  Sure, a technician is someone who has honed in on skills and needs a wealth of knowledge that is unique to that person and does a job that few people can do. Moreover, that word is usually associated with modern technology and gives it an up to date feel. What other labels have we changed? What’s in a Label?

Labels create all kinds of associative ideas that may or not be appealing. Let’s take product labeling for instance. How important do you think putting the right label on product is. Is it catchy? Does it signify its performance or give the consumer the precise indication of its quality. Would a manufacturer use a label that would lead the consumer to think the product has poor quality or ingredients, like the word ‘Lemon’ for a name of an automobile or ‘Seedless Rancid Raisins’ for your favorite snack? Not likely. We are a verbal and communicative society that has well established word associations that gives us our ability to discern and decipher.

Anything that has a name, has had its name chosen for a reason, and if there is any awareness at all in deriving that name, there is usually some conscious positive reason for using that name. Even the beer called ‘Arrogant Bastard’ has consciously arrived at that name for positive sales. Yes, ‘arrogant bastard’ certainly has some negative connotations attached to it, but in the light of humor and catching attention it serves its purpose.

 Relabeling ourselves can certainly have the same positive affect on our view of us. Let's give ourselves a new label and see how we change our perception of each other.


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