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Over time, purchasers realised that the brand provided information about origin as well as ownership, and could be used as a guide to quality. Some form of branding or proto-branding emerged spontaneously and independently throughout Africa, Asia and Europe at different times, depending on local conditions.
Seals, which acted as quasi-brands, have been found on early Chinese products of the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BCE); large numbers of seals from the Harappan civilization of the Indus Valley (3300–1300 BCE) where the local community depended heavily on trade; cylinder seals were introduced in Ur, Mesopotamia in around 3,000 BCE and facilitated the labelling of goods and property; and the use of maker's marks on pottery was commonplace in both ancient Greece and Rome Diana Twede has argued that the "consumer packaging functions of protection, utility and communication have been necessary whenever packages were the object of transactions" (p. She has shown that amphoras used in Mediterranean trade between 1500 and 500 BCE exhibited a wide variety of shapes and markings, which consumers used to glean information about the type of goods and the quality.
Systematic use of stamped labels dates from around the fourth century BCE.
In a largely pre-literate society, the shape of the amphora and its pictorial markings conveyed information about the contents, region of origin and even the identity of the producer which were understood to convey information about product quality.
The key components that form a brand's toolbox include a brand’s identity, brand communication (such as by logos and trademarks), brand awareness, brand loyalty, and various branding (brand management) strategies.
Many companies believe that there is often little to differentiate between several types of products in the 21st century, and therefore branding is one of a few remaining forms of product differentiation.
Over time, the practice of branding objects extended to a broader range of packaging and goods offered for sale including oil, wine, cosmetics and fish sauce.
Branding and labelling have a very ancient history.
Brand owners manage their brands carefully to create shareholder value, and brand valuation is an important management technique that ascribes a monetary value to a brand, and allows marketing investment to be managed (e.g.: prioritized across a portfolio of brands) to maximize shareholder value.
Although only acquired brands appear on a company's balance sheet, the notion of putting a value on a brand forces marketing leaders to be focused on long term stewardship of the brand and managing for value.
The practice of branding is thought to have begun with the ancient Egyptians who were known to have engaged in livestock branding as early as 2,700 BC.
Branding was used to differentiate one person’s cattle from another's by means of a distinctive symbol burned into the animal’s skin with a hot branding iron.
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Special accounting standards have been devised to assess brand equity.