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Throughout history, we’ve used branding to mark everything from bread to livestock. Bakers would cut unique marks in their bread dough as a way to signal trust to their consumers. Ranchers used iron to sear their brand and track commingling cattle.

Today, we associate branding with our businesses.

Branding serves the same purpose: to give consumers, workers, and users a sense of what to expect.

Actors use their personal brand to build anticipation around their upcoming theatrical release. Companies backfill their brand with “Best Place to Work” awards or Fortune recognition. Automobile manufactures intentionally place their logo on cars where we expect to see — the brand.

Brands work best when they remain consistent. An ever-changing brand, the mark or stamp, actually runs counter to the original intention. Your customers will be confused if you constantly change the sign on the door or mark on your product.

Branding also runs the risk of locking us in; keeping us stagnant when we should be exploring and trying new things.

What does your brand say about you? Are there consistencies that still allow you to change?

Perhaps less than physical branding, we should focus on emotional and ethical branding. How do our products and services make our customers feel? How do we instill trust? How do we represent ourselves to the world? How do we nurture our reputation?

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