My friend Dick Carson and I have been working his cattle each April for more than a decade. He's the photographer. That's me with the branding iron.
This post is about YOU, so stick with me.
The brand, GM, represents a whole lot more than the name of the operation, GlenMar Ranch. It represents the work and accomplishments of three generations of the Powell family on what is today GlenMar Ranch in Southeastern Oklahoma.
Back to the topic of Branding, though. Cattle rustling isn't something that went away when barbed wire fences closed off the open range and the western cowboy's way of life faded into history. Rustlers still steal cattle. Branding isn't easy work, and it smells something awful. (Ever singe your hair?) But it sure is necessary.
At 600 lbs. each, and worth more than $1 per pound on the hoof, a dozen unbranded calves will attract the attention of modern day rustlers. Do you wonder how they pull it off? The rustlers' tools are bolt cutters, wire cutters and a big truck, maybe even a tractor-trailer. Trucks don't attract much attention in rural Oklahoma, and the theft of Dick's calves probably didn't take the two rustlers more than half an hour.
Your business is as essential to your way of life as the cow/calf operation at GlenMar is Dick and his family. Is your business branded? Is there a distinctive something that says to your world, "You KNOW who I am!" If you're a lender, like I am, or a Realtor, you may spend most of your time prospecting for business and very little working on, or even thinking about your brand. Maybe you believe that all the talk about branding is hype to sell books and seminars. Don't be lulled into thinking that.
Here's my challenge to you as my friend and colleague:
(1) Look at your market, and note the most recognizable brand among your competition. Mull it over in your mind. Ask yourself why that particular brand sticks in your mind. (In Tucson, the name Marsee Wilhems is more than a Realtor's name. It's a brand. The tag line that follows Marsee's name is "If I don't sell your house, I'll BUY it." I didn't determine to memorize that name or tag line--Marsee and I have never met--but memorize it I did! That's the power of branding.)
(2) Examine your business, create your brand, and register your brand by writing it down. Look at it. Work on perfecting it. Talk to a trusted friend about it. When you like what you see, take step three.
(3) Burn your brand into everything you do. Put it on your letterhead. Your business card. The back of your car. If your spouse will let you, on the back of their car. Change your website to reflect and support your brand.
Some of you are thinking right now: "There's nothing I have that my competitors don't have. I'm not unique." That's not the point of having a brand. Imagine if my cattleman friend Dick stopped branding his herd because after all, EVERYONE else has cows, and they all look just like GlenMar's cows. Active Rain presently has 27 different classifications--27 profile types. Whether you're a mortgage processor, a home stager, or a virtual assistant, your degree of success in your chosen field depends on YOU creating a unique brand for YOURSELF.
If this post has given you a new perspective on the necessity of branding, please (1) subscribe to my blog and (2) make me your associate. And please join Marti Garaughty's weblog community - The Art Of Marketing You.
Someone is depending on YOUR success.
Take the steps to make it happen!