Updated: Feb 27
Is branding a fairly new concept? Not at all…let’s take a journey through the history on branding for a quick moment. Branding is not a modern concept and it contains a historical background.
Although many believe that the evolution of branding began in twentieth century North America or Europe, its origins trace back earlier to BC on the African continent.
Babylonians used verbal sales methods to sell goods to ships. Their sales pitches described items like vines and spices for example. Ancient Egypt and Rome businessmen practices used symbols and pictures on the walls to market goods.
According to Taylor Holland, contributor for the Content Standard, ancient Egyptians began branding livestock to symbolize ownership and engraving symbols on the pyramids way back in 3000-1000 B.C.
Pyramid brickmakers engraved symbols on stones to distinguish their work from other masons' bricks and to ensure they got paid.
This practice of using engraved symbols on products was also used by artisans in China, India, Greece and Rome.*
Branding was used to convey quality and earn trust in the 1800s – 1950s as it was used as a part of the manufacturing process to build awareness and familiarity among consumers and then in 1975, the Trade Marks Registration Act formalized company ownership of logos and names.
In the 1950s – 1960s, emotional messages were used to acquire new customers through commercials. Consumers became more brand conscious in the 1970s -1990s, which prompted companies to focus on promoting their brands vs their products as a way to “pull” prospects in.
With the arrival and recognition of different demographics like Millennials, Tweens, Generation Z, etc., companies were forced to use brand storytelling and focus on more purpose-based messages to make emotional connections with consumers since they had become more discerning of brands and focused on things like Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and customer experience (CX).
Now that we are in the Information Age (the twenty-first century), we are at a hyper customer-centric phase in the global brandscape. This implies that the focus is not on what your brand sells, but on what problem your product/service is solving for the customer. In essence, the customer has seized total control. In fact, it is your job (as a brand) to join your customer's world and find ways they can experience what you have to offer that will solve their needs and problems.
If you want to learn more about the history of branding, obtain branding strategies from Fortune 500 companies like how to develop brand attributes, explore this "So, Really, What is a Brand? Masterclass", by clicking here.
Brand Rebirth is a purpose-driven brand consulting and virtual learning firm. We are a certified Women-Owned Business that provides 1:1 Consulting to mid-size businesses and brand masterclasses via Rebirth U to women business-owners and corporate teams.
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Tanika Vital-Pringle is the Founder and Chief Brand Strategist of Brand Rebirth. https://www.linkedin.com/in/tanika-vital-pringle-global-mba-483116/
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*Taylor Holland, What Is Branding? A Brief History, August 11, 2017. https://www.skyword.com/contentstandard/branding-brief-history/