There is a lot of discussion about branding among marketers.

The word branding originally referred to pressing red hot metal into the flesh of cows. It took a lot of work to wrestle the cow to the ground. The whole process smelled bad, and the result was permanent. Once branded, there was no way to mistake a cow from one ranch for a cow from another.

All too often, ‘branding’ in the design profession refers only to the look created for a company. While this may be part of the company’s brand, it is really just a surface characteristic. True branding starts with positioning, which, just like with cows, takes a lot of effort and yields permanent results.