Brand is Everything

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Branding is one of those buzz-words that you hear a lot in marketing textbooks, but I think a lot of people (especially non-marketers) forget where that term comes from and what it actually means.

Branding is about as American as apple pie, baseball, and jazz.  Branding is what cowboys on the frontier (some still do it today) would do to mark their cattle and distinguish them from another ranch.  What these ranchers would do is take the cow, tie it down and then use a branding iron (a hot piece of metal with a special design on one end) and then literally burn their personal design into the side of the animal.  It kind of sucks to be the cow, but this allowed the cowboys to know who was “theirs”.


The analogy really holds true to modern-day branding.  You can think of yourself and company as a “cowboy” and your customers as the “cows”.  To brand, you need 3 things: heat, contact, and pressure .

Heat is whatever excites people about your company.  If it’s not exciting or even relevant, why even bother?

Contact is how you plan to talk to your customers.  Figure out what media outlets they use, and position yourself to actually help your customers.  It’s vital to figure out who will see you and how.  Even if you are a great company, if you don’t talk to the right people you’ve wasted everyone’s time.

Pressure is how often you share your message.  If it works, don’t change it!  Things become “catchy” with repetition.  Things become “catchy” with repetition.  The face of your company (your brand) must be consistent.

A successful brand will leave a lasting impression with your customers.  If your brand is just burning people and not leaving a “mark”, try adding either more heat, contact, or pressure.





  1. on 24.10.2013
    at 9:33 PM

    Awesome analogy, John! I really enjoyed reading this, and those are three great tips that will be easy to remember.

  2. on 02.11.2013
    at 3:38 PM

    I agree with Kelley! Great analogy, I have heard a lot about branding but never in this way. Very helpful post!

  3. Bryson Edmonds
    on 26.11.2013
    at 5:25 PM

    Great post! These three aspects of branding make it so much easier to understand what branding actually is and how you can brand effectively.

  4. on 29.11.2013
    at 8:00 PM

    Great post! As a marketing major I see that word “branding” far too often. Breaking it down like that really put it into perspective for me. The three points you presented make it easy for new people to the trade.

    • John Green
      on 20.12.2013
      at 8:38 PM

      Thanks Tom! I’m all about simplicity! Glad you liked the post!

  5. on 09.12.2013
    at 8:24 PM

    Great post! I really like how you used original cattle branding and related it to branding today. also, great three step plan! short and simplistic!

    • John Green
      on 20.12.2013
      at 8:37 PM

      Thanks Kaylee! This is one of the things I learned at GCC, and I thought I’d share.

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