BRANDING – An Ancient and all-Encompassing Concept
Branding has been defined as” a set of marketing and communication methods that help to distinguish a company or products from competitors, aiming to create a lasting impression in the minds of customers”
While this definition is one that is usually bandied about, it is somewhat limiting. Branding is not only used by “companies and products”, as the name suggests, but extends into religion and State (Empire) identification as well.
When we think about Branding what usually pops into our mind is Coca-Cola, Apple, Google, and a host of other products that influence our daily lives. We are constantly bombarded on every type of media both subliminally and consciously by information suggesting that we use those branded products. So from a branding perspective we live in the now and the brands that are so pervasive affect our current daily activities and we tend to think of them only as what is new and trending.
However, while we may view Branding as existing in the now, branding has existed since time immemorial.
So, there are 2 issues to expound on somewhat, namely:
- Branding is not a new, but rather a very ancient concept; and
- Branding has always extended beyond companies and products.
Branding as an Ancient Concept
- Branding and labelling have an ancient history. Branding probably began with the practice of branding livestock to deter theft. Images of the branding of cattle occur in ancient Egyptian tombs dating to around 2,700 BCE. Over time, purchasers realized that the brand provided information about origin as well as about ownership and could serve as a guide to quality.
- Recovered from the ruins of Pompeii from the eruption of Vesuvius in 79AD, a loaf of miraculously preserved bread provides a peek into early product differentiation. Markings on the bread signify its bakery of origin, use, price or intended recipient, demonstrating the need for branding in a complex market and simplifying consumer choice for perhaps the first time.
- Ancient Brands are also present in many religious or State brands and are briefly discussed in the next section of Branding as a Religious or State Concept.
Branding as a Religious or State Concept
- The Star of David, also known as the Magen David (Shield of David), has been a symbol associated with Judaism for centuries. A stone bearing the Star of David in a synagogue in the Galilee dates to the 3rd century. Coins found in the 13th century bear the Star of David. Even in today’s time so will see the Star of David on Synagogues identifying it as a Jewish place of worship.
- SPQR, “Senatus Populus Que Romanus” or more freely as “The Senate and People of Rome”; Classical Latin referring to the government of the ancient Roman Republic and used as an official emblem of the then modern-day commune (municipality) of With the destruction of the Roman Empire the emblem or logo disappeared. It can be compared somewhat with the Swastika which became the logo or Brand for the National Socialist Party in Germany and was mean to represent the Thousand Year Reich. Just like the Roman Empire, when the Third Reich fell its symbol by and large disappeared with it.
- The Ichthys – Sign of the Fish served as a secret symbol that united Christians under a comer belief and built a strong focus for their sense of belonging
- Even within Christianity, there are a host of variations of The Cross which identify a specific brand of Christianity and differentiate from others. Examples are the Armenian Cross and the Celtic Cross just to name a couple. In the early years of the 4thcentury, Armenia became the first country to accept Christianity, and the Armenian Cross mirrors some of the designs favored in those days.
The Celtic Cross is a form of Christian featuring a nimbus or ring that emerged in Ireland in the Early Middle Ages. A type of ringed cross, it became widespread through its use in the stone high crosses erected across the islands, especially in regions evangelized by Irish Missionaries, from the 9th through the 12th centuries.
So, as we indicated above, Branding is something that we relate to products and companies and a concept that we tend to recognize in the now. But clearly, Branding has its roots steeped very much in history and some of the Brands established in long ago times still exist today and define the concepts that they were originally created for.
20 Milestones in the History of Branding https://www.creativebloq.com/branding/milestones-history-branding-91516855
The Armenian Cross https://www.seiyaku.com/customs/crosses/armenian.html
The Celtic Cross https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celtic_cross