What Don Zahorsky can teach you about branding

A black Angus bull.

The “DZ” brand on the right hip marks this bull as one Don Zahorsky raised.

Don Zahorsky is an old cattle breeder in my neighborhood. He’s been in the business of registered Angus cattle for decades, even back when my dad was a kid.

Ride around in the pasture with Don, and he can tell you the parentage of every animal.

“What’s that tag number? 0282? That’s another Dominator son. His mother is a real good cow. Her father was the grand champion … ”

He has invested his life in breeding the best registered Angus cattle he possibly can. He’s bought bulls back from people, because he didn’t like the way they performed. He’s never thought once about business brands, about emotional experiences, about logos. But he does care a lot about his reputation and the service he provides his buyers.

He brands his bulls with a DZ on the right hip. Everyone around here knows that brand. They know Don. They know that brand means a good bull.

Here’s the lesson: It’s not the brand that makes the bull valuable. It’s Don’s reputation that makes the bull valuable. The brand is just a way of showing it.

Now for some actual basics of business branding, read What is a Brand? by Jay Ehret.

Photo by Becky McCray.

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About Becky McCray

Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband own a retail liquor store in Alva, Oklahoma, and a small cattle ranch nearby. Becky is an international speaker on small business.
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Comments

  1. says

    This is the shortest awesome post I have ever read. Thank you for relaying this lesson that a brand is but a mere representation of its underlying company and its reputation for good products and services.

    I appreciate this like mad.

  2. Barbara Pierce says

    As a public relations professional, I believe storytelling is the best way to communicate and educate. And this is, by far, the best definition of “brand” that I have ever seen. Thank you!

Trackbacks

  1. […] Don Zahorsky is an old cattle breeder in my neighborhood. He’s been in the business of registered Angus cattle for decades, even back when my dad was a kid. Ride around in the pasture with Don, and he can tell you the parentage of every animal. “What’s that tag number? 0282? That’s another Dominator son. His mother is a real good cow. Her father was the grand champion … “ He has invested his life in breeding the best registered Angus cattle he possibly can. He’s bought bulls back from people, because he didn’t like the way they performed. He’s never thought once about business brands, about emotional experiences, about logos. But he does care a lot about his reputation and the service he provides his buyers. He brands his bulls with a DZ on the right hip. Everyone around here knows that brand. They know Don. They know that brand means a good bull. Here’s the lesson: It’s not the brand that makes the bull valuable. It’s Don’s reputation that makes the bull valuable. The brand is just a way of showing it. Becky McCray – Small Business Survival […]

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