Chapter 1


Brands first made an appearance in the nineteenth century,2 pretty much at the same time the Industrial Revolution started to radically change the way we worked and lived. This is, of course, no coincidence: rapid industrialisation meant people flocked from rural areas to the cities and the newly created industrial centres. At the same time, an unswerving focus on the novelty of efficiency in process meant most of those taking up these jobs found themselves in roles that were highly specialised and fragmented. Specialisation, efficiency and scale were the watchwords of these burgeoning economies.

Both the mass migration of hopeful workers and the world of specialisation that awaited them had one overriding effect: people became more distant from the products and services they had previously taken for granted and, very importantly, trusted. Suddenly, the local butcher could no longer vouch for the cut of meat, the local greengrocer was unable to defend which vegetables would be best at this time of year, the local tailor unable to run you up a suit, knowing your size and favourite cloth.

Suddenly, no-one knew the quality of anything anymore – there was no-one trusted on hand to recommend, and if there was someone there, chances are they would no longer fully understand the processes and suppliers involved in underpinning their recommendations and guarantees.

In the process of exploding supply, provenance – that key mediator ...

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