In the words of the great western writer, Louis L’Amour, “Ride for the Brand was an expression of loyalty to a man’s employer or the particular outfit he rode for. It was considered a compliment of the highest order in an almost feudal society. If a man did not like a ranch or the way they conducted their affairs he was free to quit, and many did, but if he stayed on, he gave loyalty and expected it.”

A brand is the mark that identifies the ranch and the owner. It represents pride and duty, and creates a sense of identity for the cowboys who represent the brand. Riding for the Brand inspires loyalty and dedication to the ranch and the other cowboys. Once a cowboy signs on, he has made a commitment to the brand.

The cowboy was devoted to and proud of his way of life. He was proud of what he stood for, as this was his own personal brand. The cowboy respected, and pledged his loyalty to others who stood strong and proud in supporting their values. This mutual respect, and allegiance is what made a strong, bonded group that as a whole would ride for and defend the outfit they were hired on with. This mutual respect must also include the employer. If a cowboy did not like the way the ranch was doing business, or didn’t feel as though he was respected for his hard work and loyalty, he would not be staying on.

Companies today spend a great deal of effort in creating their brand. External branding is important for advertising and generating business. Internal branding is important for employees. The brand represents the company’s values. Values are set by leaders and become real when they are demonstrated through action and behavior. Employees are expected to conform to the values, and commit to the job they were hired for. Just as cowboys on the ranch, when an employee’s values align with the company’s, the employee is doing the best job possible, and the employer acknowledges this, there is mutual respect which creates a sense of pride, duty and loyalty.

 Live the Code