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The Origins Of Branding: What You Need To Know About Brand History
Episode 213th May 2022 • Remarkable Branding • Amin Ahmed & Heather Murphy
00:00:00 00:05:44

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Welcome to the Remarkable Branding Podcast with Heather Murphy and Amin Ahmed. In this episode, we’re going to go back in time to explore the origins of branding. 

We’ll discuss what Heather’s learned from one of her brand hero’s, Debbie Millman, about the Great Leap Forward and how when our brains changed we started to make marks to tell stories, show our connection to family groups and mark important landmarks. Cave paintings talk about social systems, hunting, and battle. This is around the same time people started to use makeup and flags to delineate who they are and who they belong to. It really became all about tying ourselves to a community with marks and colours. It served a function of keeping people safe, fed, and travelling efficiently. Before there were letters and words, there was early mark making. 

Fast forward to 1876 and Registered Trademarks were established in the United States to delineate which products were safe. Visual brands were registered to corporations and companies like Bass Ale started to use product placement in fine art!

The term branding comes from a root meaning to “seer in.” Explore with us in the next episode how this impacts the soul and purpose of your brand. Do you know what you’re trying to seer in?

Transcripts

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Hey Heather, welcome to the show.

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Thanks Amin.

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It's good to be here.

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Awesome.

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So today we're going to be talking about looking back to look

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forward when it comes to branding.

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I'm so excited about this topic.

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You know, there are some beautiful things that we can find little trinkets

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and treasures in the past that help us to understand where we've been.

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So we can define where we want to go with our brands.

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That's wonderful.

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Yeah.

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And I'm really looking forward to this episode as well, because you're

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going to share some really interesting facts about where branding came from.

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Yeah you know, one of my biggest heroes in branding, Debbie Millman

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has a great course where she talks about limbic branding and where

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she talks about the great leap.

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And if you watch her Ted talk, , she unpacks this great leap forward.

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So it's one of the most significant times in history.

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When our brains evolve and ,we started to need symbols.

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And so this became, you know, about 50,000 years ago when people started to make

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tools and we started to do cave paintings.

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So those cave paintings were really important because they

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told the story of battles.

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They told the story of where hunting grounds were.

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They, they talked about family systems and the animals in the area.

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Those are really important.

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Beginning pieces of narrative and mark making.

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That's also around the time when people started to use makeup and

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believe it or not, it is actually men.

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Amin did you do your makeup today?

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I did my hair today.

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You did your hair today.

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Perfect.

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So, men would use it and it would be a way of identifying which

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family structure you're from, or which, belief systems you had.

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And then flags started to be used and in battles, flags were used to

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identify which team was which team.

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And so there became colors and mark-making, and the need to

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tie yourself to a community.

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And to make it visually obvious where you belonged.

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And so that's, that's a really interesting jumping off point.

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When we start to think about branding and how human it is to

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be able to tie yourself to marks.

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So that's really interesting because I think what I'm hearing is that

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branding and the idea of having a mark actually came from a safety standpoint

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initially, where if you were part of a tribe that was battling another

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tribe, if you didn't know where you belonged, well, you could get hurt.

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Definitely.

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You needed to know who was yours and who was not.

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And you know, our brains naturally have some of that ability, but when it's

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obvious, like if you think about a street sign, if I see a street sign, I know

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I'm trying to get to the right spot.

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Yeah.

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So it kind of as a system of efficiency as well.

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Right.

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And if you're talking about 50,000 years ago, there may not have been a

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system of writing and letters and words.

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So I can see the importance of how branding would be

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really critical at that time.

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Yeah, absolutely.

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And, and it's interesting when we start to move into some of the contemporary

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scene and we'll talk more about, the contemporary scene coming up, but there

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is a really important time for brands in 1876, where in North America, their

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first trademarks were established.

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So then people attached to the laws to their marks, into their logos.

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And the very first brand to officially register was Bass Ale.

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And something that's really interesting about Bass Ale.

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So this is, a brewery, from Europe.

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The thing that was really interesting is it was also the first product placement.

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That's very cool.

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And if people don't know what product placement is, you want

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to explain that really quick?

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Well, product placement is where a brand pays to be featured.

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So it was like an advertisement so that a brand can tie itself to an

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idea like in a movie, you might see somebody using an apple computer

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or driving a Tesla, for example.

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And so oftentimes those companies will pay for that placement.

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So we see bass ale in a Rembrandt painting.

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That's awesome.

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So we'll post that painting as well, but it's just really interesting

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because that's where the big jumping off point came for all of these really

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rich advertisements and posters.

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And if you're like me and you love to look at vintage sign painting.

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That's was just a really beautiful season in branding and the kind of the

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origin points for setting us up for where we are today in a contemporary scene.

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That's really, really cool.

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And can you talk a little bit about the idea of a brand,

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like how the term came about.

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Well, the term branding actually comes from the term to see or

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in, and we're going to dive deep into that into the next episode.

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So if you want more, you'll have to stay tuned.

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That's going to be really interesting cause there's some really, fun

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facts that you probably didn't know about when it comes to branding.

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So when we take a look back at where brands came from and our need to identify

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and to mark things, it gives us an understanding of where we can go with

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our brands and why they're so important.

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It's not just something you get on Fiverr , and there you have a brand there's a

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whole spirit and a soul and a reason for everything when it comes to your brand.

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Thanks so much for that summary, Heather, tomorrow on our show, we're going to be

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going down a journey down the silk road and learning some interesting facts.

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