Branding: Where has it been and where is it heading?

eviemcrae, brand
Over the next few weeks I am going to be writing a lot about branding in my blog posts. It’s one of my passions and an area where I believe everyone in the organisation can ‘do their bit’ and add real value.

First of all, just for fun, let’s talk about the humble origins of branding and how the meaning has changed over the years.

  •  The word BRAND comes from the Brandr (Ancient Norse) To burn
  •  Most people would be familiar with branding in terms of a mark made by burning on cattle to signify ownership – thereby protecting your property.
  •  Over time people began to apply brands to not just property but products too.
  •  These brand marks came to mean quality or origin and could fetch a higher price in the market. Over time this would evolve to include ‘benefits’.
  •  From the 1870s, manufacturers began to register these marks – Trademarks so no-one else could copy them imbued with the ‘promise’ of quality
  •  Pretty soon the notion of ‘Brand’ moved to a whole new level, becoming more about ideas, emotional benefits, aspiration or self improvement or even pleasure.
  •  The 80s is probably when many really got behind the buzzword of ‘Brand’ (unless you’ve been watching Mad Men) Around this time the ‘brand’ moved beyond products, and created a whole new identity. I’m talking of course of corporate identity which fostered a feeling of belonging.

So what does branding mean today? Well branding is all of the above and more. In a digital age it’s all about the platform – LinkedIn’s a platform – Google’s a platform – Twitter’s a platform. As someone who’s written a book, I’ve even got an Author Platform – you get the idea? Each of these platforms allows the audience or ‘network’ to do something, or to search for pretty much anything.

Where will it end? Will it end or evolve into something else completely. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Do you have a favourite definition of what branding is?

Next week I’m going to be looking at a common misconception that branding is solely the domain (and responsibility) of the Art Director or the Graphic Design team. True there is a huge visual component to what people recognise as a brand, but branding in it’s true sense goes MUCH deeper than a logo. If you’re a copywriter or interested in branding don’t miss it. If you are still cutting your teeth in the world of Marketing Communications or Copywriting please feel free to look through my website or contact me with any questions you may have at I’m happy to be your little pocket guide and if I can impart some sane words of wisdom, then my work is done.


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