The Branding Iron: Cattle Call to Arms

Planit Agency
January 27, 2010

Cattle Call to Arms

Bear with me. I'd like to spin a yarn.

It's Ropesville, Texas. 1902. And you're a big, bad Black Angus cow. Let's face it: you know you're made of succulent, mouthwatering, Grade A beef. It could be the stuff of silver platter steakhouses, filet mignon lathered in butter on fine china and cozying up with a nice Cabernet and a cigar. Maybe it’s the stuff some child named Ray Kroc who will be born later this year will one day want to run through a grinder, flash-freeze, slice into patties, and serve in the billions next to bendy-straw chocolate milkshakes, golden deep-fried potato slices, and plastic toys from a place called Hong Kong. Either way, you think you're what will make America beautiful, protein-rich, and unfathomably fat — you'll turn this sagebrush frontier of manifest destiny into a free-range capitalist superpower the world will envy.

But here's the thing. There could be thousands of you — maybe millions — a vast dusty sea of Black Angus bovines, blindly stampeding all over the Wild West. You're a dime a dozen, a 2-bit rodeo act that plays second fiddle to a bullfight clown. You're chewing the same stale cud over and over with the rest of the nameless, faceless cows. And since nobody knows who you are, you could just as easily end up as a pile of rancid meat that’s not fit for human consumption. Moo.

Then along comes a cowboy. Cue whip cracking, hooves thundering, tumbleweed tumbling. He rides in with the sun: Pecos Bill, Wyatt Earp, Calamity Jane, John Wayne, and the Marlboro Man all rolled up into one. This hero's red-hot tool is called a branding iron, and with one quick press into your thick hide he sears new meaning into your cow-dom. Suddenly there's a reason why you exist. Suddenly you're different from the others. You're in demand and one of a kind. Sure, you now wear a symbol, but you've become more than image: you're experience and connections and bold new identity. You have a story. You've been branded, and it couldn't feel better.  Ruth’s Chris, you are on your way. Smiling child in need of a cheeseburger, your dreams can now come true.

OK, so we know we’re not cattle here in marketingland, but we all have brands. Your brand is why you do what you do. Without it, what do you really have? What are you really selling? Think about why your audience should believe in you and what you stand for. If you're not truly different from the next slab of meat, you’re limiting your chance to succeed. So if you ever feel like your brand is lost in the wilderness, we can help rustle it up. Let’s start a conversation about what brands really are: good ones, bad ones, ones that move people. Let’s think about Brand You and whether it’s working. Because Planit likes to be an outlaw cowboy. We wear big hats and sharp spurs, like to drink sour mash, and our branding iron is in the fire.