In cattle country, ranchers use branding to identify and differentiate their livestock from those of their neighbors. In today’s modern economy, business use branding to identify and differentiate their goods and services from those of other sellers. While both use branding to identify and differentiate, business brand management is a far more subtle and complex process than heating up the branding iron on the Ponderosa.

Your brand is your corporate image, your promise to your customer, what you are actually offering behind the goods or services. Luis Vitton is not selling handbags and luggage. Apple is not selling computers and electronics. Lulumon is not selling yoga pants. Nike isn’t selling athletic shoes. Revlon is not selling cosmetics. And Coca-Cola is certainly not selling carbonated water with flavoring. These companies are all selling a lifestyle, a status, through their products. These companies are selling emotions and feelings, a way for consumers to establish thei identity based on what they use, what they drive, what they drink, what they wear, and even how they smell. For companies selling services, it’s no different. Whether investment, legal, accounting, medical services, pest control, or home improvement services, these businesses are really selling customer peace of mind by portraying themselves to be skilled and established in their field, trustworthy, and ethical.

Numerous sellers provide overlapping goods and services in a crowded market. Those that succeed differentiate themselves though properly managing their brand and building a connection to their targeted demographic more effectively than their competitors. For businesses selling their goods or services at a premium, branding becomes even more critical. Branding must effectively instill an emotion within customers that the offered goods or services have a higher intrinsic value. Businesses that successfully separate and distinguish themselves on non-pricing factors open a door to profitability that is inaccessible to businesses relying exclusively on price and volume.