I heard an inspiring talk last week about brands: owning, sharing, marketing and embracing brands. And something I hadn’t thought about, is that everyone has one.

I attended one of Alltech’s North American Lecture Tour in Lincoln, Neb., along with others in the industry. At it, Alltech’s Global Consumer Marketing Manager Laci Poulter spoke about brands – a subject I’ve heard about for over two decades in publishing and the animal health industry. But what caught my attention in a different way was how Poulter took brands from the multinational arena down to the individual person.

“Your brand is not just a logo,” Poulter said. “It’s your promise to your customers. It’s where you’re from to what you’re proud of and your vision and personality.” Poulter noted that the word and concept of branding is unique to agriculture as cattle brands are some of the original brands and means of identifying something.

Poulter said consumers are demanding — not just wanting — food that is health-enhanced, safe and nutritious, with variety, flexibility and choice, and they want an exceptional taste and experience. This is what the food industry and marketers must provide in a variety of ways, using branding all the way. But it’s not just the responsibility of the restaurant or retailer, it goes far back in the chain to the source.

Poulter said successful brands create an emotional bond through stories. “Are we telling our side of the story?” she asked. “Take for example the words ‘producer’ or ‘farmer’. When people not involved in agriculture are asked what they mean, they have an emotional, positive connection to the word ‘farmer’. The word ‘producer’ makes them think about someone making movies in Hollywood. It’s all about framing the message.”

Poulter said brands have numerous benefits including customer loyal that create emotional bonds, commanding price premiums, providing frameworks for integration, increasing media and social outreach and providing a platform for growth.

Veterinarians and brands
I re-cap Poulter’s talk about brands because she is right. Everyone has one. I hope for the last almost 20 years that Bovine Veterinarian’s brand has fulfilled its objectives and that it has remained consistent, trustworthy and valuable to its consumers — the beef and dairy veterinarians who read it.

In the same way, beef and dairy veterinarians also have their own brands, whether it’s their name, their practice, their specialty, etc. You’ve had to build trust, consistency, engagement and passion with your own customers, clients and communities. How much have you thought about your name – your reputation – as your brand, and have built and fostered it? As Poulter said, your brand is not just your logo. It’s your promise to your customers.

“You need to tell the stories about your brand,” Poulter said. “Do it in a way that connects and be the voice for your brand.”