After talking to all kinds of businesses through networking, cold calls and everyday interaction I have realized not everyone knows or understands what a brand management firm does. Being that we are based in Fort Worth, known as "Cow Town" to some, we are often confused as a company that makes cattle brands for ranchers. Although this is a little frustrating due to our east-coast advertising/design background we can understand part of the confusion.
If you truly understand the reason the ranchers and cowboys branded their cattle you may start to understand commercial branding as well. Back in the day, ranches moved their cattle from their ranch to the cattle stock yards to sell them. The cowboys and ranchers needed to protect their cattle. You see, cattle is a valuable resource and the last thing you wanted was to have some good-for-nothing cattle rustler come and steal your steer and profit from all your hard work.
This is the same thing that a business goes through. The owner / CEO and all the employees work really hard providing a great product and/or service and do not want some yokel coming in and stealing their clients or intellectual property.
So how do you stop this. Well, in the cowboy days, you created an iron brand, threw it in the fire, and when it was good an hot you "branded" your cattle using your ranches unique and easily identifiable symbol or brand. Here are a few samples of some famous early cattle brands.
As you can see these are all very different and unique. They do a great job of differentiating each ranch and their cattle. So how does this relate to modern day branding? Well, instead of branding the cattle with a cattle brand, businesses brand their buildings with signs, they brand their employees with company outfits, they brand their image with business cards, brochures and web sites.
A brand management firm then is very similar to the cowboy or ranch owner that created their unique brand and actually branded each and every cattle so they are not stolen. Brandwise, like the cowboy, brands each and every part of your business and helps companies to manage their brand.
Why would a company hire a brand management company instead of just doing this task their selves? Doing this internally, the company has to hire a quality team of people and manage them. The typical problem with this is, first off most businesses do not understand how to brand successfully, so they do not know what makes a good branding team. The second problem is this takes away from the main focus of the company. It is more important to focus on and excel at what you do and then outsource the other specialty areas like accounting/bookkeeping, legal issues and branding. Let these specialists do what they do which gives you time to focus on billable work, not learning a new trade.
A quality brand management firm can/will help you with many things like:
- Naming or Positioning (company, products or services)
- Logo Development and Consistency Management (making sure the logo is used properly through out all marketing)
- Trademarking or Copyrighting (research, assistance finding quality legal Intellectual Property Attorneys, etc.)
- Corporate Identity Design (business cards, letterhead, envelopes, etc.)
- Web Site Design and Development (search engine optimization, landing pages, content management systems, blogs, analytics)
- Marketing Research and Planning
- Annual Campaigns (direct mail, email, newsletters, etc.)
- Trade Show Campaigns (booth design, collateral design, pre & post show mailers, demonstrations, strategy development, etc.)
- Online advertising (pay per click ad campaigns, industry related advertising, etc.)
- And many other forms of marketing and advertising your company for sales, lead generation purposes and building brand awareness.
Who are the top companies that manage their brands well? A few that everyone knows (because they do such a great job) are: Nike, Starbucks, and Apple. Why do they focus on quality brand management, well because their brands are now worth much more than just shoes, coffee and computers. Their brand value is worth millions or hundreds of millions beyond their physical assets.
Don't settle for anything less than a high quality brand. A great brand management firm will bring you more value than you can imagine. You are worth it, invest in your company now and go get a brand management firm for your company.