It's difficult to track down the world's first-ever brand, but it probably didn't take long for the ancient concept of branding cattle to migrate to products and services. If you grew the best apples in town and you wanted to trade them for the best sandals, you needed to look for a specific cobbler's branding on the sandal. It was only natural.
Branding in the barter economy was transformed by the time of the Industrial Revolution. Factories took over, urban populations exploded, millions of people hit the workforce, and the result was mass, mass, mass production. Billions of goods had to be sold, which naturally led to mass consumerism, which was fueled by mass marketing and flooded with mass, mass, mass branding. The Industrial Revolution created a perfect storm that birthed the modern brand, and now the Digital Revolution is set to flip it on its head.
Today, the average person is exposed to thousands of ads and hundreds of brands per day. You're probably ignoring a few of them as you read this, but the most famous ones stick in our memories forever. We don't know why and if we did, we'd never create a forgettable brand again.
What we do know is that it's not because of a product, a service, a logo, or a slogan. It's because of the history, people, stories and places that revolve around the brand. Those things create something in our head that lasts forever. You know what Nike's logo looks like. You know what products McDonald's sells, and you still can't figure out IKEA directions. But do you know where all these brands are from? See if you can match each of the famous brands in this quiz to its country of origin.