How Did Brands Become a Thing?

Brand Unique

Richard Rimer

February 27, 2023

We all know what a brand is. Wikipedia defines it as:
“a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that distinguishes one seller’s good or service from those of other sellers.” 

The key word is “distinguish.” You don’t have a brand unless you are distinct. Once the public determines they like your product, your brand is what allows them to come back for more. 

The idea of using a distinctive design to signify ownership was borrowed from the cattle industry. 
– there are cave drawings over 17,000 years old that show animals with marks made on them, and
– the Egyptians marked their cattle with hot irons as far back as 2700 BC. 

This concept was borrowed by artisans in Egypt, China and Europe. For example, the European guilds of the middle ages assigned unique designs to craftsmen who made objects such as silver, China, furniture and pottery. 

The designs helped both the buyers and the craftsmen. 
– The buyers knew what quality they should expect from certain craftsmen, and
– the craftsmen were able to charge more if their goods were higher quality.

The guilds recognized this value and would banish anyone from the guild if they placed someone else’s design on their goods. Over time, the practice of placing unique designs on objects extended to a broader range of goods offered for sale including oil, wine, cosmetics and fish sauce.