Growing up on a ranch I know full well the importance of branding, or putting your mark on your cattle. It's a concept that makes sense to anyone from an early age, if ranching is your business. But I have been gone from the ranch for many years and although they still practice branding, the word is popping up in many other situations lately and its interesting that an old idea or practice still has the same meaning.
Let's start with the word. It's very flexible. Your can use it either as a noun or a verb. A brand can also be good or bad, empowered to praise or damn.
In fact, branding is so flexible that it doesn't have to be a word at all. It can be a sin, symbol, logo, color, taste, fragrance or even a feeling. In business parlance, the word brand is used in some interesting ways: "My company's leading product has achieved number one top-of-mind brand awareness in this market." That's good. Your customers not only know you, they like you. Better yet, when they need what you offer, they think of you first.
So just what exactly is a brand or brand identity? And what can be branded?
Sure, we all know that products can be branded. We have grown up with Pepsi and Coke, Chevy or Ford, even Wonder Bread and Cheerios.
A brand is what other people, current and potential customers, think of your product or service. A brand is made up of part fact, part feeling, and part, well, over simplification.
Brands exist because of the way people make decisions. When faced with choices, humans want to understand, organize, classify, simplify and evaluate their options. As individuals, each of us may fancy ourselves as a unique blend of wants, needs, thoughts, feelings and perceptions.
So what does this have to do with anything?
I attended a marketing meeting a couple weeks ago with a group of other media types, as well as the directors of two important agencies in Price. Kathy Hanna-Smith was representing tourism and Delynn Fielding was representing economic development. They were in a quandary and brought the media or area marketers together to discuss what it means to brand Carbon County.
But haven't we been branded already? How are we viewed by the rest of the state and region? How do we position our county when it comes to vacationing here or starting a new business or moving to our fine community. These two committees feel that branding is the answer and its time for a new image, a different look, a fresh selling point.
The ideas and concepts and suggestions filled the room. After an hour we had more ideas than ever. But as simple as it sounds its not that easy. We are selling our citizens on shopping at community retailers, we are selling the folks from the Wasatch Front to stop here on their way to Moab, we are selling new industry to consider Carbon County as a home for their next move and we are selling high school students our local college as the next best step to their future.
This is a complicated endeavor.
You can imagine the words that were thrown out to describe Carbon County during the meeting: strength, the source, diversity, gateway, Castle County, opportunity, and unity.
The outcome of the meeting was to have a contest to solicit your ideas, the ideas of John Q Public.
We want your input for logos or slogans that can be used together or separately as we begin another phase of marketing our great county. The committee is looking for your idea, either visual or verbal that simply tells the state and world who we are and what we offer.
Entries can be dropped off here at the Sun Advocate in Price or mailed to: Contest 120 East Main, Price, Utah 84501.
If you have a good idea on how we can do a better job promoting our image we want to hear from you.
Help us Brand our Community.