Brand Beginnings: How Did the Biggest Brands Start?

Brand Beginnings: How Did the Biggest Brands Start?

Dell shares the humble beginnings of some of the biggest brands in their “Beginnings” ad.

It comes as no surprise that some of the most popular and powerful brands started as nothing more than an idea at a coffeeshop down the street.  In a recent piece titled “Beginnings,” the technological giant Dell embraced the startup mentality by showing some of the humble locations from which some of the biggest brands started.

Where did some of these brands actually start?  From Dropbox’s start in a bus to a small office for Whole Foods; Dell’s artfully created piece gives a look into how big ideas became big companies in their recent piece. We would like to highlight in a little more detail how some of these companies embraced the startup nature and became some of the strongest brands in each of their fields.


Launched from a Small Apartment in San Francisco

Now a leader for enterprise level cloud computing and annual sponsor of a million-dollar hackathon, Salesforce.com is another company with humble beginnings.  Started when an Oracle worker decided to move onto his own venture, Salesforce.com took all of the needs for enterprise level programming into his mind when developing the company that is now competing with Oracle for enterprise dominance.  Committed to the “End of Software,” Salesforce.com founder Mark Benioff had one idea in mind and has committed to it; bringing success to his company and gaining the name “The P.T. Barnum of entrepreneurship.”

Whole Foods

A Composite Commercial/Residential health food store

Whole Foods, the now-leader in natural foods, started as a spoof of the Austin area Safeway.  Titled SaferWay, the store was operated in a small commercial building, with storage facilities in the owners’ apartment.  As storing food for commercial use in residential properties was illegal; the couple was kicked out and forced to live in the back of their store, creating a makeshift shower out of a dishwasher and a hose.  By providing high quality products and creating an avid following, the company was able to not only recover from the store’s flooding but also expand aggressively through the 80s.  Now an international company with multiple brands, Whole Foods is an example of a Brand that just wouldn’t quit.


A first-floor bedroom in Tallinn, Estonia

Ahead of its time, the Skype software was introduced in 2003 by a group of people with the dream of becoming a Peer-to-Peer conversation giant.  Originally titled “sky peer-to-peer,” the company was shortened to Skyper and later Skype based on domain name need.  Picked up originally by eBay, Skype continued to expand, adding new services and reaching new users before being sold to Microsoft in 2011.


A Bus Station in Boston

Something that almost comes as second nature now, cloud computing had to get its start with someone.  Founder of Dropbox, Drew Houston, got the idea after graduating from MIT and realizing that the two options available to him- emailing himself files or using a flashdrive- were both inconvenient and inefficient.  Combining the server storage offered at MIT and a global mentality, Houston began to code Dropbox in a southbound bus on Interstate 95.  Recently reaching over 200 million users, Dropbox is now one of the leaders in business and personal use cloud computing.

Every Brand Needs to Start Somewhere

Many other brands could be featured in this article, from the Google Garage to the Dell Dorm Room.  Dell tugs at the heartstrings of its viewers using this video as the introduction of its new B2B campaign and introduction as a privately held company.

How did Your Brand Start?

What does it take to support that brand and reach new users? How will you bring success in 2014 and beyond for your brand?  IDeas BIG started as a small firm, and is now a leading branding agency for many companies with the startup nature and dedication needed to succeed.

Would you like to hear an unbiased opinion of how your brand is doing, and what could be done to improve your brand effectiveness?  We offer a complimentary Brand Audit.  Contact Chief Branding Officer Neil Brown for more information.

We would love to hear your branding story. Tell us yours in the comment section below.

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