While watering plants last Spring, I stumbled upon this fledgling sprout in a hanging basket. I immediately thought it would make a good stock photo, but soon realized how it also taught a great lesson in brand building.

Yes, those mighty maples in my yard have been protecting my home from nature’s sudden turns, much like a well-nurtured brand provides cover from market uncertainties.

And, the same way in which a business should propagate its brand through strategic outreach, those maples were maintaining their own seasonal ritual of proliferation, sowing whirling seeds of distinction within, around and beyond my property line.

If your branding efforts aren’t branching out beyond your customer base, you’re missing an opportunity for it to take root in areas where it can add real value to your business. Potential investors, career-seekers, local media … they each should know who you are and what you stand for.

Your brand and your business should matter to all of them.

If you want to stand out from the rest of the forest, sow your own seeds of distinction as broadly as you can.

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