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BlogDo Cows Like To Be Branded?

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Cow Branding

Do Cows Like To Be Branded?

When you stop and think about our brand-saturated world, it can make your head hurt. It is estimated that we see 5,000 brand messages a day. (And who has time to count that many?) It’s brand-saturated, and we love it.

Brand to me is that little piece of property you own in a person’s mind. It is mental shorthand to help you remember something you like — or many times, dislike — about a brand. We maintain that real estate.

Many people ask me, “What is the ‘one thing’ we can do to really brand our organization?” That’s like saying, “What’s the one food you can eat to get healthy?”

Cow BrandingFor me to get healthy I have to:

  • Eat low cholesterol food
  • Lose weight
  • Control stress
  • Take statins
  • Exercise regularly
  • Get out into nature

All of those things make me healthy.

Too many people believe in brand magic. One thing will magically brand you in the minds of your customers. Like my example of getting healthy, it is much more holistic. It’s ongoing, and it’s a commitment to being more universal.

The other issue with brand is that many believe that people can be branded like cows. If they can, let’s look at it from the cow’s perspective. Do cows like to be branded? Not the ones I’ve seen. And people react the same way when they are overbranded by an advertiser.

You really can’t burn your brand into someone’s mind. Branding must be more subtle and understatedly elegant. The person (cow) must thoroughly enjoy the experience.

No one wants to be hit over the head with a branding iron. A brand starts by thinking first of how to solve problems for people. That’s your benefit and your reason to exist.

If you see “here’s how to brand your organization in 4 easy steps,” run.

Written by:

Mark wrote his first direct-mail fundraising letter in 1981 for the University of Iowa Center for Advancement. The effort raised a few million dollars in undiscovered wills and legacy gifts. From that day forward Mark discovered a love of the big idea that moves the needle.

With that kind of experience, after working at KWWL for 12 years, Mark became one of the founding partners of ME&V and, subsequently, AMPERAGE. Today, he leads the AMPERAGE creative teams, including video production, graphic design, public relations, writing and web development.

He is creatively ambidextrous — son of an artist and engineer — and famous for distilling complex ideas down to a few words and a few visuals. Mark is a writer. When he found that many nonprofits struggled with complex branding puzzles, he wrote the book, “NonProfit-NonMarketing .” He also wrote a novel called “Reenactment.”

Mark is an active blogger OneMinuteMarketer® with nearly 1,000 readers each week on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. One of his most popular YouTube videos is on “How to Look Good on Zoom.”

One of Mark’s fondest business memories was being named to INC 500 two times and attending the INC 500 conference with other winners. Mark is considered by some a Civil War expert (and that explains his novel). Mark also served as an adjunct professor in the business and in the communications departments at Wartburg College.

Mark is a graduate of the University of Iowa and is currently vice president of the University of Iowa Journalism and Mass Communications Advisory Board.

Mark is married to state Sen. Liz Mathis, and the two love to travel, even when it means being trapped by a volcano in the Czech Republic for three weeks.