20 Benchmarks in Branding History

We covered that brands have a personality, that they have a certain persona and a relationship with people. This relationship takes time to build and cannot be make overnight. This is a connection that requires time to make. In this article we will show you a timeline of branding. Here are 20 benchmarks in branding history that give us an overview of branding from the fundamentals to where we stand today. If you are a marketer or a businessman you need to know the roots in order to foresee the future.


01. Branding in nature

Branding in nature

From the beginning of life itself we see branding in nature. The original concept of branding has been adopted from nature. We have learned this phenomena from the world around us and have used it to satisfy our own needs.


02. Cave paintings

Cave paintings

Archeologist have discovered branding in the form of cave paintings. What this means is that branding is a concept that ages back to the Stone Age.


03. Cattle branding

Cattle branding

When society evolved a bit and people began to use methods of harvest and herding cattle farmers would brand their cattle to know who owns them. This method of identifying each other’s cattle was the fundamental base of branding and this is where the word branding comes from.


04. Human use of symbols

Human use of symbols

Later people used symbols to specify certain groups of people. This created a sense of identity and belonging.


05. Pompeii bread

Pompeii bread

Marking on bread showed the baker who had made it. This signified branding in the simplest form. Through this the buyers could identify where the bread was purchased and bakers could leave a signature on their product.

06. Union Jack

Union Jack

Mixing brands would often lead to unique results. This union jack shows the initial merger of England and Scotland. Ireland was later added to this in 1801.


07. Napoleon’s hat

Napoleon's hat

Napoleon, who was not of royal blood made symbols to signify his position. He wore this symbol on his hat which is still used today.


08. The first trademark

The first trademark

Although bakers and herders used their forms of branding, they were not protected and were only ways of portraying ownership. The Bass Ale became the first UK trade mark and marked a significant event for the future of branding. This is one of the 20 benchmarks in branding history that are truly important.


09. The Michelin guide

The Michelin guide

In the start of the 20th century Michelin was the first company to bring an experience factor into branding. They put together a map and showed different dinners along the way. They also rated these dinners and these ratings are still being used today. Gordon Ramsey is one of the few people who own restaurants which have been awarded 5 Michelin stars.


10. The first audio service mark

The first audio service mark

NBC’s xylophone chimes were registered as the first audio service company in 1950. This sound has been heard by millions of people and it comes second to the traditional Nokia ring tone.


11. The birth of corporate identity

The birth of corporate identity

Gordon Lippincott in 1958 coined the terminology “Corporate Identity” at this point companies were vigilant of their images and how people saw them. Corporations investing in how people viewed them. This was the beginning of a field that is evolving even today.


12. The Apple Mac

The Apple Mac

Although the concept of computers was very difficult to understand in the 20th century Steve jobs created the Apple Mac in order to revolutionize computing. He provided an interface that made the computers less mechanic and friendlier. Jobs idea was to create a machine that was an extension of the human himself. And he did so in 1984 by launching the Mac. This is one of the significant 20 benchmarks in branding history. Apple is a huge company and even though Jobs has passed away his spirit lives on through the devices he has built.


13. Nestle buys Rowntree

Nestlé buys Rowntree

Company acquisitions were not common back in 1980s and it was at this time that Nestle bought Rowntree, the company that made Kit Kat. The company worth at the time was 1 Billion Pounds while Nestle paid 2.5 Billion Pounds for the acquisition.


14. Just do it

Just do it

In 1988 Nike came up with their Just Do It campaign that left Rebok in the dust. Everyone wanted a piece of this newly promoted Nike attitude and the marketing campaign was a groundbreaking success.


15. Like this

Like this

In 2004 the launch of Facebook changed the way we looked at and used the internet. It brought a revolution in social media and connected people together in a way never known before.

16. Google enters the dictionary

Google enters the dictionary

Google entered in the dictionary and our lives in 2006 changing the way we browse the internet. It is such a huge name now that phrases like Google it are used day in and day out. Today Google is the leader in search engines and also provides other features to connect with people.


17. Gap logo withdrawn

Gap logo withdrawn

In 2010 Gap changed its logo back to the former one due to customer complaints. The company launched a new logo which was not appreciated by the public and had to change back to the old one.


18. Branding hard-wires brains

Branding hard-wires brains

Companies like Apple had huge success in making deep connections with their customers. A study in 2011 showed how a certain part of the customer’s brain would light up when they saw the company logo or heard of its name.

19. Babies given brand names

Babies given brand names

In 2002 people started naming their children after brands. Brands like Facebook and IKEA. Although governments come into the matter and stated that such behavior was not in the best interest of the children but that did not stop people from doing what they wanted.


20. A new generation of brands

 A new generation of brands

Today there are virtual brands that have no physical assets beyond virtual space but have influenced the market in a significant way.

These were the 20 benchmarks in branding history that show us how branding has evolved over the ages. From the Stone Ages till the modern days.


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