Branding has always been a big part of marketing to consumers, but B2C companies aren’t the only ones who should consider how customers perceive them. It also plays a role in marketing companies that operate on B2B models, like manufacturers.
Yes, the key decisions-makers you market to will need to weigh your company against your competitors on the basis of cost and quality. However, all else being equal, they’re going to go with the company they trust the most. More often than not, this trust is created by the brand associated with the company.
So what is a brand, exactly? Marketer Seth Godin describes it as “the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.” In other words, the gut feeling customers have about your company is based on its history, reputation and differentiating characteristics, which you can leverage to create a powerful brand for your business.
Differentiating a company can be easier said than done, but the following branding tips will help you more effectively show potential customers why they should choose you over your competitors.
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1. Emphasize your unique capabilities
In addition to cost, manufacturing companies have to compete with one another in terms of service, logistics, and other capabilities. So what can your company do that others can’t? Once you know, you can develop a unique brand position, which can lead to viable marketing opportunities.
Look at your full range of services and capabilities and compare them to other manufacturers. You’ll discover some that are better delivered by your firm than by anyone else, and even a few no one else is offering.
Highlight them in your marketing materials, and focus your efforts on the companies looking for those kinds of capabilities. The end result will be a more targeted brand strategy and a more loyal clientele.
2. Build a strong visual presence
Think about some of the biggest companies in the world. What’s the first thing that comes to mind? For many people, it’s the logo, typeface or color scheme.
A brand is made up of many elements—a strong visual presence is one of them. If you want to become a preferred provider of manufacturing services, beef up your visual identity.
This takes time. You want to choose the right logo, font, color scheme and tagline for your type of business. You also want something that doesn’t call to mind another company, particularly a competitor.
If your current logo does not accurately reflect the way you want potential customers to perceive your company, it may be time to rebrand. This will require a substantial investment of time and money, but will pay off in the long run as you position your company as a big name in the industry.
3. Increase outreach
Building a strong brand requires being proactive. A strong visual identity and a unique brand position will help, but so does outreach beyond your usual circle of customers, followers and advocates.
If you want your brand to gain traction, you need to make sure everyone knows about it—not just potential customers, but the public at large.
Get the word out about your company by establishing a blog, publishing articles and information on other sites, and sharing testimonials and case studies that emphasize your company’s focus. When you do, prospects will know exactly what to expect from you when they reach out.
4. Focus on a niche segment
Very few companies can be all things to all people, so it makes sense to build a brand strategy around the ability to cater to a niche market’s specific needs. If you followed the first step, you already know what makes your company stand out from the competition.
This will also make your company a more viable choice for the industries in need of such capabilities. Keep these industries in mind when selecting target markets.
Start with your current client base. If you find they fall into the same business categories, make those categories the focus of your strategy going forward. Don’t use the same tactics, though—companies in two fields may have the same manufacturing needs, but they don’t face the same issues. Instead, customize your strategy for each specific industry you want to approach.
5. Be credible, constant and consistent
A brand strategy can fail for all kinds of reasons, but most of them fall under one common theme: the brand isn’t believable. Consumers and businesses don’t like it when delivery of services doesn’t match the brand promise or the new strategy doesn’t fit with the company’s core mission or history.
Your brand strategy will succeed as long as it’s carried out credibly, constantly and consistently. Before going through with your branding position, check for the following things:
- Credibility: Are your claims authentic? Can they be backed up with evidence or statistics?
- Constancy: Does your brand come through in each part of your marketing strategy?
- Consistency: Can you deliver on your brand promise at every point of the customer experience?
If you can answer “yes” to all these questions, your brand is more likely to generate new business for your manufacturing company. Otherwise, make changes to your brand strategy—or your business, if necessary—before moving ahead.
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Building a positive reputation is essential to attracting new clients, and a branding strategy is one of the best ways to do so. And if you’re looking to position your manufacturing company as a leader in your industry, WebFX can help!