Most times when I hear start-up companies talking, they want to create a brand. They want their product to be recognized as "THE" product in that category. Then they can grow the products and easily be recognized. Think in terms of Kleenex for tissue paper for the nose, Xerox for a copy, Slinky for a kid's toy.

But, branding has a whole 'nuther image. That's the idea of a hot iron being pressed against something causing it to sizzle and accept a permanent image. I live in Oregon where horses, steer, and sheep are still raised and branded to identify the owner of the animal. Sounds archaic in the age of implantable electronic tags, but it still has its place.

Another place it is still popular is in the branding of the tire on the truck/tractor/trailer. I'm not talking about the name of the company that made the tire, or the numbers put onto the tire during manufacture to indicate tire size. I'm talking about fleets putting their own identifying brand, the old fashioned way, onto their tires. Sometimes it is for tracking tires as they move and get replaced due to wear or failure. 

A recent TMC task force meeting on tire asset tracking was extremely well attended, as everything dealing with tires is. Standing room only as everyone weighed in on what needs to be tracked, how things get lost, how a brand can identify who is responsible for something bad, and how it can inappropriately identify an owner and open them up to greater liability. 

Sometimes fleets are using bar codes. When the tire is replaced remotely by a third party, someone can take a photo of the bar code with their camera and send it to the fleet HQ to be interpreted and put into the data base system for tracking tire wear and usage. 

With the upcoming requirement for tire pressure systems due to the GHG 2 regulations, there is an opportunity to move to RFID tags, QR codes, bar codes, and other methods for identifying and tracking tire casings and retreads. Europe already had a labelling requirement. Technology has the ability to take us a whole lot further than just being able to visually identify that that's my tire.