Ask any business owner about their company brand, and they are likely to pull out a business card with their logo.
“There it is,” they’ll likely tell you, with pride and passion in their voice.
The problem is, a brand is so much more than a logo. It should do more than beautify your business card. With a little self-reflection, a bit of planning, a hefty dose of strategic thinking, you can leverage your brand to better communicate with prospects and customers, helping to launch your manufacturing business to new heights.
What is Branding for Manufacturers
While it’s true that a logo is a component of branding, a brand can do so much more for a savvy business.
A brand can work like a promise between the business and their customers. It reflects the fundamental nature of your business – how you work, what you deliver, what your business does and how you want to be perceived. It can tell your customers what they can expect when they work with you – immediately differentiating your company from every other manufacturer out there.
Branding for Manufacturers is a Matter of Survival
Many manufacturers today recognize that delivering additional value for customers is the key to business success. For example, an OEM has several options when it comes to purchasing a slab of steel. It is the added value that one supplier can bring to the table that will drive the purchasing decision.
In the increasingly competitive manufacturing market, utilizing your brand and brand promise is an opportunity to communicate that value. You can use it to build trust and credibility, to showcase the mission of your company. It can help you find new customers and better communicate with existing ones. It’s an opportunity that shouldn’t be missed.
For tier 1, tier 2 and tier 3 manufacturers, your brand promise is the “curb appeal” an OEM or prospect experiences of your business. With a strong brand, you can set-up the conversation with new customers and immediately start communicating value. It’s an opportunity to draw a distinction between your business and the other companies providing the same material, product or service.
Missing that opportunity to differentiate yourself can be the difference between selling a commodity and being a valuable partner to your customer.
Taking Charge of your Brand
Making your brand work requires support across the business and a willingness to communicate and live your brand promise. The good news – a strong brand is like supercharged rocket fuel for your business. Let’s take a look at how you can make the most of your brand promise.
Identify your Brand
Even if you have an idea about your brand promise, it’s a good idea to do research and understand and analyze your brand. You need to understand what your customers want from your business. Creating a buyer persona will provide insight you’ll need as you develop your brand.
Next, consider your value proposition. How is your company delivering what customers want? What makes you unique in the market? Look at your competition, and identify what you can do better than them.
Finally, consider your mission. What is the vision and goal of your company? What is your purpose, and how does it connect to your value proposition? Answering these questions and understanding your customers and the market are critical to developing a successful brand. If you put in the work and have the data on hand, you can turn your brand into a competitive advantage.
Communicate and Support your Brand
Your brand should influence every customer interaction, and your employees should embody and communicate that brand every day. That starts by communicating your brand to employees. Share your mission and brand promise with them, make them part of the team. Support them as they work to embody the brand promise. In fact, a company mission is a critical tool for increasing employee engagement.
Next, look at how you are currently using your brand with customers. You need to deliver the brand promise consistently. If improved quality on every order is your promise, what steps have you taken to deliver? If fast turnaround time is your promise, what evidence can you show?
Remember, your brand should communicate trust and credibility. You need to live and fulfill your brand promise.
Talk to and Find your Best Customers with Digital Marketing
Now that you have a brand in place, it’s time to start actively communicating with your customers. Inbound marketing is a great way for manufacturers to find and start a discussion with your best customers (the ones you profiled in your buyer persona).
Digital and inbound marketing are customer-centric ways of marketing and managing your business. Customers are going to have questions about your brand, how you do business, and why you are different than other manufacturers. Take the time to answer them, and provide the best answer possible.
An inbound marketing strategy can work hand-in-hand with your brand promise, with inbound marketing providing the perfect vehicle for your brand promise. It’s a way of starting the conversation with conversations ready and excited to work with you.
Identify your Communication Channels
Now that you have a great story to tell your customers and prospects, you need to seize the opportunity to tell it.
Consider your shipping and packaging material. Every shipment is an opportunity to enhance your brand promise with a logo or a tagline. Look at your invoices, and consider how that can help tell the story of your brand. What about your customer service team? How is the work they are doing providing another example of your brand promise? What does the promise mean to them?
Over time, as you identify these channels you can leverage your brand promise to enhance and add value to every customer and prospect interaction.
Leverage the Lasting Power of Promotional Marketing
Finally, promotional marketing can be a powerful tool for communicating your brand promise.
Rather than buying another boring pen as a giveaway for a trade show, look at how you can use a promotional item to communicate your brand promise. Consider this – consumers are 83% more likely to do business with a brand after receiving a promotional item.
The right promotional marketing can have a powerful impact on your business, and is another way you can tell the story of your brand. If your brand communicates the value your company delivers through an already effective promotional marketing tool, then are enhancing both strategies and doing even more to influence prospects. Buyers are even more likely to turn to your company for their next purchase.
Getting Started with Branding for Manufacturers
The right brand strategy can ensure your business is constantly communicating with prospects and customers. It can be working for you all the time, telling the story of your business in an entirely new way. Before you first talk to a new prospect, that brand has already positioned you for success. You are already ahead of the competition because you are selling more than just a product – you are selling value.
If you want to learn more, or would like to talk to a marketing expert with experience delivering results for manufacturers, then contact GO2 today. Set a time to discuss your business goals and branding strategy, and discover how GO2’s 2020 Marketing program can help.