In the Wild West, cowboys would sear a symbol of ownership onto their livestock as a way to deter thieves. Marking cattle with these symbols became so popular, the symbols had to be written down and catalogued as a way to ascertain ownership. Thus, a “brand” became a unique and personal identity, much more than a mere name or symbol. However, like a herd of cattle, a brand can be a difficult thing to control. It takes the best of cowboys to wrangle it in.
Let’s imagine that out in the Wild West, there’s a cowboy with a dream. We’ll call him Brandon. Through intensive experimentation, Brandon has bred cows that produce chocolate milk (pretty impressive, right?). Naturally, Brandon wants to start selling these heifers right away, so he slaps a ChocCow brand on them and rushes them into the market. Unfortunately, no one at the market is interested. Some people have trouble pronouncing “ChocCow,” while others think it means the cows produce chalk instead of milk. Worst of all, Brandon accidentally brought along a few regular cows that only produce plain milk. This did not make for a good first impression, at all. Despite his initial optimism, Brandon returns to his ranch empty-handed.
When you’re in the early stages of starting your business, branding is particularly crucial. First impressions matter, and as more competitors flood the marketplace, establishing a strong and immediate voice couldn’t be more important. You’ll need to leave your mark in a way that’s memorable, valuable, and easy for consumers to understand.