Accidental Branding

Martin Lindstrom, author of Brainwashed, answers a reader's question over at Freakonomics :
Some 30 years ago, when Russia was the USSR, brands did not really exist. Yes, Pepsi was present due to an agreement made between the then-U.S. president and the leadership of the USSR, but besides that there was only one product per category. When I investigated this, I realized that this was not entirely true. When “the” fridge was produced (remember there was only one model in total), the manufacturing staff would mark certain refrigerators in order to indicate that more time and better materials went into the production of that particular fridge. At first, these fridges were produced specifically for the senior officials of the government (and the company), however rumours spread, and soon the staff was getting hold of the marked refrigerators whenever they secured the rights to buy “the” fridge. Word continued to get out, and consumers began to search for the marked fridges.  The reality: The company had given birth to a brand without knowing it.


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