Brands can sometimes pop up in the most surprising of places. At a team building event yesterday, we were fascinated to learn that ENIGMA, the famous WWII cipher machine, started out as a brand name. We were even lucky enough to see an original machine, with the stylised ENIGMA mark on it:
The machines were patented in 1918 and first sold under the ENIGMA brand in 1923. The German military started adopting the machines in 1926, and during the war a number of other companies were contracted to build the machines under licence.
The ENIGMA machines would have been top secret during the war, but have since become famous. You might have assumed that there was nothing ‘brand’ about the name, and that it was simply an invention created for and used by the German military. But these machines started out with a commercial market in mind. Given the hold which these machines still have over the popular imagination, it goes to show how important a good brand is, even in the most unlikely areas.
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