Time to Distinguish Yourself from the Herd - Brand Yourself!

The original idea of branding wasn’t advertising, it was a form of product identification, livestock to be specific. In the old west, you created a brand that correlated to your ranch and your animals. It was an ownership issue. Often ranchers would use the first letter of their last name to create their brand, such as “C” for Callaway. The brand was made of iron, stoked in a red-hot fire that was then seared onto the flesh of an immobilized animal, i.e. tied up or held down. The process of branding is painful and costly. It causes pain to the animal and costs employee overhead to do it. But it was a necessary expense compared to losing animals to poachers. But as permanent as scarring an animal’s flesh sounds, it often to no account because of rawhide robbery.

Back in the day cattle rustlers would create an “overlay brand” like an “O” or a “Q” to rebrand the Callaway livestock as their own. Weak branding can cost companies market share as their competitors reap the benefits of appearing to offer similar products under their own name. It’s a no cost acquisition to their herd. Back in the day and in some parts of the country, it was a capital offence to steal cattle punishable by hanging. So the impetus behind branding was a deterrent to criminal behavior. If the brand can be altered by competitors and pawned off as their own, then your brand becomes worthless. Your competitor gains free inventory and your company is marginalized.

Today, branding is part of the overall marketing strategy to promote your company’s name and secure an online foothold. Image profiling is an art in and of itself. It’s a label that should imprint on the customer’s cortex, which leaves an implicit memory that doesn’t require conscience thought. Online customer acknowledgement happens in seconds or it doesn’t happen at all. Your moniker needs to be a compelling quip with an associated graphic to send an impactful message to the psyche of your target audience. Your moniker should be so powerful that you spend real money to perfect it and protect it against interlopers and thieves by utilizing a registered trademark.

Whatever online platforms you use, they need to be like a theatre marque with coordinated neon lighting. Without it, the best brands are just passed by like “say nothing and do nothing” billboards along the road. If it doesn’t turn heads, then no one will slow down enough to read it. These days messaging is pithy or the use of an acronym that actually says something. If your business is driven off your personality, then an animated avatar could elevate company’s presence. But whatever tac you take, your goal is to bombard your brand until it becomes uber familiar with your target audience.

Using worn out adjectives or stale superlatives to inflate the value of your firm is just boring bravado, like using descriptive The use of words like “professional,” “best,” or “elite.” Isn’t it assumed that all businesses are attempting to be professional? Professional does nothing to create distinctiveness. Using the word “best” implies that your company against all other companies is superior, but it’s overused and doesn’t deliver any uniqueness. Elite defines another level of expertise like special forces, Navy seals and Army Rangers. It near impossible to quantify, which is perhaps why words like that are used, but it only attracts a small sliver of the population, and it borders on arrogance.

Being a middleman in the distribution of financial products is a difficult position to be in along the supply chain of investments. You’re stuck between product manufacturers and the financial adviser community. You may very well be heads above the rest but still stuck in the middle of the herd. But your brand can separate you out from the pack and make you stand alone. That’s the goal of branding…to make you stand alone.

Steve Sevant Steve is a syndicated financial columnist, talk show host and popular platform speaker. He is also a nationally recognized videographer, content creator and co-contributor to Advisys, InsMark and LifeSpecs. Steve’s videos and content are distributed to over 280 media outlets and 200,000 Twitter users. To contact him visit www.lifesizesolutions.