“Riding for the brand” is a saying that speaks deeply to cattlemen. It’s a creed that embodies a lot of values we hold dear. There are fewer compliments that are more meaningful than being able to say someone rode for the brand.
When you think of riding for the brand, one of the first thoughts is usually about your own operation, or an organization in which you strongly believe. In actuality, we all ride for several brands, but the most important one is usually your own personal brand, which encompasses such things as how you deal with family, friends, business acquaintances and even strangers. It’s about living up to your own values and code; it’s about exercising your potential.
Of course, there is the marketing side of branding as well. When you put your brand on something, it’s a declaration to the world of not only pride in what you produce, but an announcement that you take ownership and responsibility for it.
My daughter downloaded a logo game on my phone recently. Looking at all the logos, she remarked that she didn’t know why but she really liked particular logos, even though they weren’t as well designed as others. In studying the logos, I realized that it wasn’t the logo that represents a brand so much as that a brand is reflective of the customer’s experience and their link to that experience.
Even in our commodity-based industry, we have to take responsibility for the beef brand, and we all have our own brand whether we recognize it as such or not. People don’t buy products, they buy brands; and brands are far more than just being a piece of effective marketing. Brands are an embodiment of the people who produce the product and what they represent. Brands are the total experience that a customer has with a product. Brands are the link that ties consumers to producers.
It’s normal at the start of the year, but particularly this year, for producers to take a hard look at many aspects of their operation. Being a low-cost producer, producing a higher-quality product, and effectively marketing the product produced have always been considered the three legs of the stool. Perhaps the fourth leg of that stool is brand management. What is your brand? What makes you unique? What do you stand for?