Rancher Smith had a new bride and new piece of land. He took what little he had and invested in a small herd of cattle. He took pride in his accomplishment. He was now able to provide for his wife. Along came spring and not only did his herd grow, so did his family. Spring brought new life to the rancher. With each passing spring the family grew and so did the herd.

With this great new blessing also came a burden. Every once in a while, one of his precious cattle would wonder off, never to be found. Over time this became a concern.  While his herd was thinning out, his neighbor Rancher Jones’ herd was growing.  Rancher Smith approached Rancher Jones and asked how he was able to afford such a great herd. A reply came from Rancher Jones, “This magic spot on my ranch!” Rancher Smith was in disbelief. “Magic Spot’? How is this to be?” Rancher Jones was ever so excited to tell Rancher Smith all about how he acquired his abundant herd without spending one dime. He didn’t even have to wait until spring!

Inquisitive by nature, Rancher Smith asked to see this “Magic Spot.” Without hesitation the two men mounted their horses and rode off to a hillside – and sure enough, a beautiful steer was standing grazing in rancher Jones’ field. “See I told you! Every time I come to this spot, a steer or two just appear! I am truly blessed that I don’t have to spend one dime to grow my herd. This steer will give me plenty of strong calves and I will make plenty to expand my ranch.”

Perplexed by what he witnessed, Rancher Smith scratched his head and congratulated Rancher Jones. He went home and shared this news with his wife. His wife was in awe of what she heard – as a good neighbor she was happy for their neighbor’s abundance, but saddened that her family was struggling to survive.

As the years rolled on, Rancher Jones became the pillar of the community with the largest herd in the valley, while Rancher Smith struggled to make ends meet. One day Rancher Smith got on his horse and rode off to escape his thoughts. While on his journey, he dreamed of having a magic spot on his land. He went to Rancher Jones spot, and while on his horse he witnessed something in the distance that would change his life.

Rancher Smith rode as fast as he could to tell his last ranch hand to gather some items and follow him. Not sure of the excitement, the ranch hand followed orders and quickly caught up with Rancher Smith. The two worked feverishly late into the night, and as the sun rose the two were quite happy with their accomplishment.

The next day Rancher Smith rode to Rancher Jones’ place and asked some of his other neighbors to meet him there. As the group met, Rancher Smith asked Rancher Jones to share with everyone how the “magical spot” on his ranch had blessed him so well these past few years. Rancher Jones was delighted to brag about his wealth. He brought the brood up to the hill and low and behold two strong cattle were once again in the spot.  The crowd was wowed and Rancher Jones smiled from ear to ear.

Rancher Smith settled the crowd to share some news. “We have watched our neighbor here grow in wealth, while our own ranches have deteriorated. I have news that will bring a close to our losses. I placed a mark on all my cattle with a hot iron. For on the sides will be my mark. This mark will be branded on all my livestock. Please examine the side of this steer and if it is mine it will have an “S” – if not it is yours.”

Low and behold, an “S” appeared on the side of the cattle. The ranchers all knew that the magic appearances of the cattle were just mere lack of maintenance on a forgotten fence line. From that moment on the branding stood strong in that community and the ranch of Rancher Smith grew to a profitable place once again.

The moral of our story is this: If you fail to “brand” your products or services, you get lost and your competition runs away with the profits. The consistency and strength of our brand makes a mark. Great companies large and small know the value of their brand and make sure they get experts to guide them to the appropriate use of their brand. When considering how to brand, make sure your logo – “the stamp” – is memorable and strong. Don’t be like Rancher Smith and allow too much time to go by.  Stop the competition from taking your profits today.

– Mike Shoun, President and CEO

Originally published at