Branding: A Promise of Value

Via the good seed, William Safire's mini-history of the word brand. From branding irons, firebranding and the brandmark or trademark, to our current obsession with building the brand, the article provides a good overview of the past and present of branding.

''It's a new brand world,'' wrote Tom Peters in the magazine Fast Company in 1997, playing on the compound adjective brand-new. In an article titled ''The Brand Called You,'' Peters argued that ''the main chance is becoming a free agent in an economy of free agents . . . looking to establish your own microequivalent of the Nike swoosh. Everyone has a chance to be a brand worthy of remark.''

Well before the blogosphere became a media power, Peters held that ''the Web makes the case for branding more directly than any packaged good or consumer product ever could. . . So how do you know which sites are worth visiting? The answer: branding. The sites you go back to are the sites you trust. . . The brand is a promise of the value you'll receive.'