The evolution of branding


Technically, branding got evolved in somewhat in the middle of 1900, but if we time travel to some 2700 BC we could see abstract of branding concepts there too. Branding was there, from kings, to merchants to empires and dictators!

“Branding actually started as a part of livelihood to identify livestock “

To identify one person’s cattle from the others, they introduced a marking scheme in Egypt. This can actually be related to today’s concept of Logo making. This process was actually done in favor of an individual. And improvising this, we made brands! So the concept of branding was actually started to distinguish living creatures! Cows and Buffalos were given identification marks to identify which person it belonged. This is kinda contradictory to our present scenario. We don’t brand living things now.

The improvised version of branding then became common among merchants and artisans. They wanted to categorize their products or arts from others and hence they started giving a common identification mark in everything they deliver. Trade in the medieval period was fully automated by this concept. Merchants were known by their trademark. People started buying from a particular trademark and this improved the sale for merchants.

The next version was with kings and kingdoms. Even in 2nd BC there were signs and symbols to depict monarchs. The star of Vergina is one example as it was there in the flag of Alexander the Great. All the transactions under one empire to other, including merchant deals and artisan deals were stamped under the influenced logo of kings. Everything under one dynasty was known for a particular symbol and this is technically branding! The concept named “branding” was unaware but it was followed for many years as such in this period of time.

Time traveling to the 18th century, we can see a different side of branding! Industrial revolution started and this concept of branding became more intense. Businesses started picking up and they termed themselves as the fines. New companies in competition named themselves uniquely and trademarked themselves with particular logos and branding concepts. By the end of 18th century, branding became part of corporate identity!

The timeline of branding

The Indus Valley (2250 – 2000 BC)

So we started by saying that the evolution of branding was from Egypt, of course by imprinting hot irons on cattle. Then it further got extended to the Harappan Civilization. The Harappan Cities craftsmen have seals and they sold these to merchants to create trademarks for their artifacts, animals and figures.

Shang China(2000-1500 BC)

In the Middle Bronze era, the royal tribes of China brought branding into their lifestyle. They even branded their own potteries, wine vessels, flags, cooking pot, cordage, horse plume, fence etc.

CYPRUS (1500-1000 BC)

This is where trade and commerce actually began. Since there was a lot of sale across seas, it was indeed intimidating to the merchants and to the consumers at the same time without an identity. Royalties imprinted their own identifications for the in-between trades and similarly, merchants and traders had their own identifications imprinted on their products.

GREECE (1000- 500 BC)

Branding had a new phase with the evolution of Iron Age. Silver trades were common in this period of time. Along with that, iron weapons and tools got imprinted with identification marks in this period of time. This is actually considered as the beginning of modern branding.

The 20th Century branding

The 20th century branding is what we have now, what we experience and what we implement. This extended version is where we brand everything with a particular trademark. From trade marking to promotional products, branding got extended! And now reaching to the merchandise section, everything is getting imprinted. Customization became the trend and from there promotional products evolved.

This timeline of branding gives an idea about its evolution and upbringing in advertisements.

Evolution of Branding