Branding as we know originated in England, was shipped to Argentina and later was adopted by the Americans.
The original brand was Her Majesty's Vessels. It, the use of branding as a communication tool was erected for securing the appreciation by all others of all like instruments possessing the same capacity: World dominance and power, the facility in establishing security, safety and consistency.
Of course, this was as long as you appreciated its presence. Security, safety and consistency meant within the Court and as Subject where few acknowledgments of your person or your value as an individual existed. Security for the Crown. Safety for the Crown. And Consistency for the Crown.
Argentina being a subject of the Crown and one of its holdings in agriculture began applying the concepts of assets and resources within branding. Objects, the natural and unnatural (cattle) resources were leveraged and traded for further securing the Crown's interest.
Examples where "branding", an impression of a symbol burnt onto the hide of an animal, existed in Argentina. However these applications which we can liken to lot numbers in the United States today were few and far between. They simply were not needed. Fleets and routes securing the Crown's presence were far better examples of ubiquitous authority and control.
Lot numbers may not be the best analogy here. In the United States they are in large part an accountability program ensuring quantities and thereof state of base industrial products. We like know how much and where our more effective products reside. At all times. Lot numbers, more accurately, are industrial branding tools for some of our global partners. A lot number or a serial number affixed to a product identifies the process and source of the technology ensuring industrial recognition and credit.
Cattle ranchers in the United States were the first to use branding in a different sense - burning a mark, remark. It became both an offense and defense tool.
First use by Americans, cattle ranchers in the United States began destroying herds from other country's as they reached market, needless to say coal for economic war - like the one we're currently in. In turn cattle remuneration for the discord - it wasn't illegal to destroy another's herd. There were open areas, "international zones" so to speak, cattlemen "tested" the authority of another. As no world court to speak of existed they simply handled the affair in a gentlemen's way.
Remuneration with healthy cattle.
Between these gentlemen, in the exchange, ranchers applied a history to further the commitment for both parties resolving the issue, burning onto the hide of the animal a history of the animal's origin. The U.S.
Recognizant in place, either as then, slight to the dominance of another, in an ungentlemanly way as it was to the English Crown, or as a direct insult to the steward of that dominating power's authority, Argentina's cattle men, the process of branding is fairly well encapsulated.
Speaking today on its, the Crown's facsimile is none other than the dominance of any one entity.
Schools of thought.
Schools of thought forming the shape of branding can be outlined in: address, definition, assurance, or preservation.
Address: Branding is the market window. In focus at all times, the goals established within its statement are mandates for all others to address, recognize and guarantee. Effectively, dominance is secured through strict leadership psychology.
Industries: Pharmaceuticals, Manufacturing.
Definition: Branding is the clear presence of dominating core values. Monumentally difficult to separate from the others or articulate without the other, each core value is embedded within all aspects of industrial and corporate design, appreciating all products and services available to the market. Effectively, aligning all assets for the core value furthering economical goals through the replacement of all other systems and examples for absolute dominance.
Industries: Steel, Energy and Agriculture
Assurance: Branding is the applied concept of competition. Ensuring longevity and relevance within the market an entity consistently engages the dominant notions applied in consumer targeting undermining their competition's capacity to respond by dismantling equity. Effectively, creating an imbalance by resolving, bringing into focus incongruities through succinct and modern concepts of opportunity and relevance.
Industries: Publishing, Beverages, Distribution (global activity)
Preservation: Branding is the steward for cultural and societal preservation. It employs consumer activity securing all venues and threads of domestic distribution. Its goal is to undermine and remove all business definitions which do not result in an immediate return of access and control. Effectively, applying the concept of purse control to undermine any one entity's capacity to dominate a market scape that does not provide, allow for, the termination or support of any product or service furthering consumer needs.
Industries: Consumer Goods, Communication
Programs subscribing value within any of these programs, it's assumed in any domestic environment, is vested through the success of the overriding program.
This is primarily why so many enjoy speaking to the branding program they're most familiar with. The current popular topic of "Made in the U.S.A" for instance, is the interest held by Industry in encouraging the populace to resolve their expectations along products, employment, and services as Industrial America engages competition globally.
Find the words to start.
Branding on a consumer goods level is quite difficult. Very difficult. Its primary skill requirement is a form of writing that is extremely difficult to learn. It takes decades of exposure to get right. Without this complete appreciation it is simply advertising or marketing copy.
The writing itself is an inarticulate. Several sources to help understand the term can be found reading through Dictionary.com and Merriam-Webster's online dictionary (m-w.com)
The core message, concept and application being, inseparable.
The Success Document
I like to equate the process of defining branding for clients to writing a Success Document. Within, proof of understanding, commitments; outlines of core value sets; the methods to secure these values never reach public scrutiny; and the programs to defend the consumer, the primary asset of the corporation, against all attacks and distractions erected to challenge these values.
The proposition, leading from sound branding is the commitment to these values. It is also the Intent to engage all others to protect your audience and the values.
It states the bond between consumer and brand. Interestingly, like the american cattlemen, with clarity - all marks, burdens, and hardship will be carried by the corporation.
The "insult" - taking its root meaning to engage aggressively, stating intent - insulate from all others the establishing source of the remark is the party accountable for all solutions reaching all parties; to remove any and all appropriations in claim by another.
Remove yourself from the track.
As people like to speak to branding it's primarily due to the agreement with the value propositions in place. Arguably difficult to improve, the mistake made by many professionals; marketing, design, small business owners, entrepreneurs, is to approach the branding process from these established propositions.
Each branding program is held with a key technology or design element under scrutiny. That is, the core technology which will build out products or services, or a key design element which will build out relevance and safety for consumers. As each corporation has the distinct, the design or technology advantage, using an established program to initiate your process is a huge mistake.
So very well defined, and so very efficient in protecting their respective audience members, assuming the key technology or design can borrow from the established effectively places you in the middle of the track where the marketing activity of that entity is steaming towards you to clear its track.
Write to rite. You'll get it right.
Once in place, a good branding program is unstoppable. It's important to remove yourself from the track. Conduct your research thoroughly to identify the values which hold relevance for you and your consumer.
Writing your program, again, requires a commitment to understanding and defending these values, and in each industry can take up to 20 years to fully appreciate. That said, relying on a professional service that is most familiar with your industry is crucial. Of course, keen observation, and several years to address the market, society, consumers, and the reapplication of fundamental technologies within will help you find areas where new value sets can form.
It's important to remember, as value sets are the cement applied to secure a society, changes as they occur with new technologies always results in redress or reapplication of existing technologies.
This is rebranding or repositioning, better said, where original propositions were riding on either thin ice to begin with and were not sincere from the beginning.
Unsettled landscapes, the confidence we all have, consumers and business alike is natural. It goes without saying. As we advance, how we apply the tools of advancement, their forms (convenience products, services, etc) will be instrumental in the security we will enjoy en route.
One exercise is to look at the more successful branding programs, taking note of technology changes, research the business activities of the brand as they addressed defending their audience.
It helps reveal the more important questions which face small businesses.