If you raise cattle, more than likely you're familiar with branding. You may use an electric brand, a fire brand, or a freeze brand, but no matter what method you use, you're branding your animals.
Producers brand their cattle for several reasons, all are centered around identification. Identification if animals get out on the road or into someone else's pasture. Identification if an animal is stolen. Identification in the sale or show ring. It's all about identification. The majority of producers are diligent about branding their animals, but they don't brand their business.
What do I mean?
Marketing gives your business an identity.
If you're raising purebred cattle, you can't afford not to be marketing your animals and your business.
Your cattle may be outstanding, but if you aren't marketing them and properly branding your business, no one is going to know about those fantastic genetics you have to offer.
So, how do you market your animals? Where do you start?
No.1 - You need a brand, an identity. You may already have a branding iron, but now you need a graphic brand. And no, a photo of your brand on an animal or of your branding iron doesn't cut it. Your goal should be professionalism which means you need a professionally done logo.
Your logo or "graphic brand" can be as simple as that. A graphic of your brand. Or maybe you want something a little more than that... like a graphic with the name of your operation and your brand, your family crest, or something totally outside the box. Whatever it is, it needs to be high quality and well represent YOU.
No. 2 - You need to be using social media to promote your business. There's a right and a wrong way to do this, but that's for another post. For now, start using the cheapest form of advertisement there is and get your brand visible on social media.
No. 3 - You need to be using print advertisement. If you go to a sale, at the very least you need business cards. But don't forget banners and other promotional prints are awesome for building brand recognition too.
No. 4 - You need to use paid advertisement when it makes sense. Again, when it makes sense. That might mean putting an ad in a publication, sponsoring a targeted ad on Facebook (please don't hit "boost post"), or running an email/social blast with your association.
No. 5 - Finally, as your brand gains recognition, you'll need a website. If someone hears your name or sees one of your ads, the first thing they're going to do is google it. While eventually they should be able to find your social media, they're probably going to want more information than your Facebook page has to offer. Additionally, a well-done website will be search engine optimized. That means folks who may not know about your specific operation will be more likely to find it when they search for things related to your operation or area.
Branding your business doesn't end with this check list, this is a starting point. So stay tuned and get excited! I'll be posting more articles with tips on branding your business over the next few months!