Brands are complex because they are both real and figments of our imagination. Brands were invented to replace face-to-face transactions between the customer and craftsperson. Transactions evolved from âIâll give you this goat for that pigâ to âCan I really trust this jug of Roman wine?â
The original brands were primarily people and their family surnames: Farmer, Butcher, Baker, Candler, Miller, Shoemaker, Carpenter, Miner, Smith, and Gold. These names were passed on for generations, along with the craft skills these names promoted. These people were neighbors, so selling shoddy goods was risky, particularly when many of them drank a lot of beer and carried weapons.
The expansion of factories and trains turned the craft system on its head. These modern inventions rapidly widened the distance between producer and customer. When the producer is in another state or country, itâs harder to get your money back or exact justice if the product harms you. This modern production system needed a way to establish trust. Enter, stage right, modern branding.
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