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Sunday, March 19, 2023

Still the One

After twelve (12) years and more than 135 posts and 14 rotating pages, Spartans are still the beast! They were number one in 2011 and again in 2015. Out of curiosity, the Brands in History stats department ran the numbers and confirm that the Spartan post is by far most viewed on this blog. To this day, there is something about the Spartan culture that absolutely keeps them top of mind when it comes to ‘brands in history’ and our collective memory. Although the film 300 didn't hurt.

What a great story that 300 men led another 3000 against a vast army estimated at somewhere between 500,000 and a million men. In modern times there is little such fortitude—at least not since the Alamo. In doing so they averted the absolute destruction of Athens, whose culture laid the groundwork for what would become western civilization. Had it not been for the Spartans, the western world might look very, very different (see It's all Greek to me).

Okay, but what other posts are popular? There have been some changes, Achilles has fallen out of favor and replaced by the number two favorite, Florence Nightingale. This lady with the lamp solidly earns her spot is one of two women in the top five, but not the only women having earned a place with Brands In History. Still, Nightingale was an interesting woman of her time—not only founding modern nursing, but that she was also quite a statistician, or that she never married. Nightingale believed she should devote her life to Godly work. 

The number three slot goes to Alexander the Great. He and Nightingale helped displace Achilles. Not a surprise, really. Alexander is a huge figure from history—both fact and fiction make him a branding force to be reckoned with. Let's face it, he conquered much of the known world of his day. When he died, his generals split up that world, which leads us to number four—Cleopatra, the other woman in the mix. 

The opening paragraph in this popular post says it all: "Cleopatra was the naughty minx of Egypt who wasn't afraid to commit her assets to win an objective. She was simply one of history's deliciously bad girls who consciously and brilliantly cultivated her brand." Her connection to Alexander? Cleopatra descended from Ptolemy, one of Alexander's generals. 

And then there is the Red Baron. He's held the number five slot for all 12 years. Oddly, five is the same number of air-to-air victories required to become a flying ace. The Baron's full name was Baron Manfred von Richthofen and he is the most enduring brand from the First World War. His mark on history is the fact that he alone racked up 80 air combat wins during the war in less than three years. He is still universally regarded as the "Ace of Aces" and studied by aviators. 

A little note on all these is that each comes from the first year of Brands in History. They were all written in 2011. But the real takeaway here is that the popularity of these figures reveals what we admire: The heroism of the Spartans, the compassion of Nightingale, the vision of Alexander, the determination of Cleopatra, and skills of the Red Baron. The other thing it teaches us is that the past is so much more than dates, mummies, or dusty artifacts. These were people who often had an acute sense of their public images and how to mold their personas. They were the first brand experts.

You are invited to explore all the entries on this blog—and maybe discover something you did not know. 

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