Branding Your Alpaca Business Without Getting Burned

When I was a young girl growing up on a Midwest farm, branding meant the yearly task of burning our farm’s symbol into the hides of our cattle with a branding iron. No other farm had a symbol exactly like ours, and every animal that displayed our brand could be identified as one of our herd.

Branding in the business marketplace is very similar to branding on the farm or ranch. It refers to the specific image or niche a business develops and promotes to make its products and services unique, recognizable, and memorable in the minds of its prospects and customers.

In The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding, authors Al Reis and Laura Reis, say, “A successful branding program is based on the concept of singularity. It creates in the mind of the prospect the perception that there is no product on the market quite like your product.” In the giant soft drink industry, there is only one “Uncola” – 7-Up.  “You’re in good hands” with only one insurance company – All State.   Even though some of these taglines haven’t been used for YEARS – people still resonate with them and associate them with the brand.

The more saturated with competitors an industry becomes, the more important branding becomes. Though the alpaca industry is nowhere near saturation in the United States, some breeders may feel surrounded by other farms or ranches and concerned that they cannot differentiate themselves well to prospective buyers. Now, while the industry is still growing, is the ideal time to develop your alpaca business niche or brand. As the number of new breeders coming into the alpaca industry continues to exceed annual AOBA goals, the branding program you develop can help you stand out from the herd of breeders in the minds of your target audiences.

You want to establish a niche that not only appeals to prospects, but captures their interest enough to make them want to contact you about doing business with you.

Some businesses do that by developing a niche that has more to do with a service they provide than with claims about the quality of their product. In the overcrowded pizza industry, for instance, Dominoes pulled away from the pack by developing a unique niche with only two words, “We Deliver.” Pizza Hut and others quickly followed by promoting a similar service, but could not capture the Dominoes brand. Instead, they developed their own niche as the home of deep-dish pizza. Papa Murphy later entered this market and branded themselves as the place to get gourmet take-out pizza ready to cook at home.

Creating Your Business Image
So how do you establish a niche, develop a brand, and market that unique image of your alpaca business?

The first step in creating your business image is to determine exactly which products and services you offer. Are you in business to sell alpacas, breeding services, fiber, fiber end products, or a combination? Are you a broker, agistor, or alpaca lessor? Are alpacas your primary livestock or do you also raise and sell other animals?

Once you can define what you offer, the next step is to determine what sets you apart that is also desirable to your prospects. Start by writing down five things that are unique about you, your alpacas and services, and the way you do business. I call these your BCA’s or Basic Competitive Advantages. Go beyond “quality alpacas” and “after-sale support.” Nearly every breeder says that, and though important, it is not unique in the prospect’s initial perspective. What do you have or do that is just a bit different, or more focused, or a cut above the norm? Once you have your list, circle the two or three that are the most true for you and will be important to the kinds of customers you want to have.

Using two or three key image phrases, brainstorm combinations of them that briefly define your niche. Doing so will create a unique image message, or tagline, for your alpaca business.

A tagline is a short phrase or motto that conveys your niche clearly and precisely in  seven words or fewer. The tagline message should create an image of you in your prospect’s mind. That image has strong impact on their decision to investigate further and ultimately to buy. Here are some examples of taglines and image messages for existing alpaca businesses. What niche do they claim to hold? How have they branded themselves?
Breeding Beauty in the Fleece
Where Trust and Quality Make a Difference
Selection You Desire, Attention You Deserve
When Only the Finest Will Do
We’ll Help You Sell

Once you create your own tagline or image message, try it on some other alpaca owners and breeders; then on friends and a few people who don’t know what you do. Ask them what image your message communicates to them about your business. What does it say you provide? More importantly, what do they think they get from you? How does it make them feel about the benefits they can expect to receive? If their response is what you want to hear, you are ready to begin marketing your niche to potential buyers and referral sources.

In the next blog I will discuss more about Marketing Your Niche!

Julie Wassom
“The Speaker Whose Message Means Business”
Marketing and Sales Speaker/Consultant/Author
Call me: 303-693-2306
Fax me: 303-617-6422
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One response to this post.

  1. […] Picking up right where we left off with our previous post on Branding Your Alpaca Business Without Getting Burned | Part 1. […]


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