Evolution of Branding:
The Art of Buzzing the Online Handmade Industry
The roots of Branding run deep. Very deep. Historians believe that the practice got its start in Ancient Egypt (circa 5000 B.C.) where identifying marks were painted on livestock to signify ownership. The practice continued through the times of Ancient Rome and on into the Middle Ages. In Spain, where herds grew larger and the ranges for grazing continued to expand, the practice of Branding became a more permanent method developed with the use of fire heated tools.
During the 19th century, in the American Southwest, the age of the Vaquero was blossoming and so was the Branding irons used to burn the brand of the cattle ranchers onto the thick hides of their cattle. The open ranges and grazing habits became the requisite for identifying brands, so that when time for roundup and cattle drives to market came, the various ranchers could select their cattle from the herds.
And so it was for the American Buckaroo, who apparently had trouble pronouncing the Spanish word for “Cowboy”… and in the world today the branding of livestock continues to be an important means of identification even though cattle rustlers are mostly a thing of the past.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Branding had gone beyond the cattle ranches of the Old West, and companies were using the process to identify the explosion of new products being manufactured throughout the world. Much as the real estate term “listing property” was derived in the Old West, so was the concept of Branding,
The creation of a Brand is an arduous task that got its roots over 6000 years ago. Today there are literally millions of products and services offered to the consuming public under a Brand Name. There are different elements to the process of creating a Brand Name that may include creating a Trade Name and/or a Trademark. In the United States, the government is a part of the process in the intervention and regulation of Brand Names to protect its owner’s use of the name. A registered Trade Name or Trademark are identified with varying symbols and legalize, and in the end the intent is the same; to provide the identity of a product or service.
Industrial implications of Branding are huge. A company name, a company trademark, a product name or trademark are all an essential part of protecting one’s property in a large and complex marketplace. And now, with an increasingly global economy the necessity is even more pertinent, not only for the legal realities but also for the competitive nature of the market.
Branding as a business tool developed slowly over many years and Brand Marketing became the way of the 20th century. Brand recognition is the key to successful marketing. It is a process of teaching consumers what the Brand wants them to know. For example Tide detergent may be one of the world’s most readily recognized products and Proctor & Gamble… the company that manufactures it. Kellogg’s makes Special K, Chevrolet makes Corvette. It seems simple, but the reality is that creating Brand recognition, especially for a new or little known Brand is a most challenging assignment. After all, who came up with the term “Corvette” anyway? Chevrolet, of course.
Creating a Brand is all about creativity. It is sort of a “Jack & Jill” effect: we must create in order to create. With all of the goods and services available on the internet and elsewhere, it is difficult to be original. If it were possible to count all of the words in the English language, and if you wanted to be really unique, what Brand Name word might you come up with? Kodak, Xerox and Kleenex come to mind… not to mention Corvette.
So, give your audience something they will remember. Be creative. Be unique. It doesn’t take conjuring up a new word that is idiomatic to Webster’s…it can be a group of words, a description of your products or how and what your product is or does. Create a short phrase about your goods or services. Create an acronym for your Brand Name. At the end of the day, be unique.
Analyze word competition. By using applications such as Google, Yahoo, Bing and others, perform tests on names that you like in order to judge how many others liked it before you did. This will be of aid when registering your Trade Name or Mark. Through the entire process always focus on consumer recall. If it’s hard to remember, they won’t.
In the digital marketplace of ecommerce it can be difficult to keep your products in the eyes of the consumer and your cash register ringing. A good example is the Online Handmade Industry. It is here that creators if handmade or handcrafted products open personal stores and shops on a multi-vendor website. There are a number if such sites on the internet that offer artists and artisans a place to sell their stuff in a targeted shopping environment,
The challenge is to keep a shop and the products therein as visible to the public as possible. After all, with over 100 billion live sites out there, the implication and scope of the web is enormous. Branding products will help with identifying a shop and create consumer recall. Different marketplace venues have different motives. If it is the intent of the site to maintain a large number of products on its pages the marketing of those products become the responsibility of the shop owner. The impact of Brand marketing can greatly increase a buyer’s ability to seek out a particular shop.
A concept in advertising is creating what is called sizzle. The idea is to create a commercial that is so well done that the viewer can hear the “sizzle” of a steak on a grill they watch on television. Creating sizzle in ads is much like creating buzz.
Getting people to talk about a shop, a product from that shop is the buzz that creates fame. And people talk all over the web, in forums, in blogs and chat rooms. Buzz is the culmination of Branding. Some call it internet inertia. When you create your product and people begin talking about it, over the internet or over the backyard fence, you will know you have arrived.