When it comes to branding, the major players probably come to mind first — Amazon, Coca-Cola®, Disney, and so on. The strength of their name recognition is immense. When these names come up, you immediately see their logo, and even if the logo doesn’t bully its way into your brain, you at least know what they’re selling. It doesn’t matter whether you consume their products or not; you know them. They’ve seared your mind with a branding iron. (See what we did there?)
Many manufacturing and industrial companies, however, don't think that they need to worry about branding. Some still prefer to rely on word of mouth marketing and referrals to attract new business, and they feel that branding isn't important in their space.
But there's a better way to grow your business.
The fact is that the manufacturing and industrial marketplace can be extremely crowded, with different companies offering many of the same services and capabilities. A solid, recognizable and memorable brand can help you stand out from the crowd and put you in a position to win more business.
Here's why you should build your manufacturing brand.
Why Is Brand Marketing Important?
People Will Know Who You Are And What You Do
Let's get the obvious out of the way: effective branding will give you name recognition. That's great. But there's another, not-so-obvious benefit of branding: it will also give you capabilities recognition.
You see, with really great branding, you become what you offer. Think about it. When we say chocolate, you think Hershey. When we say tissue, you picture Kleenex. Building your brand can make your company name synonymous with your product or service. That's powerful stuff.
Related Resource: What Can B2B Industrial Marketers Learn From B2C Companies?
Effective Brand Marketing Establishes An Emotional Connection
Successful branding helps to foster an emotional connection to your company. Once you establish what your brand is and what it stands for, you can then create messaging that speaks to people’s needs and desires on a subtly emotional level.
Think about Apple, for example. The anticipation level that awaits every new product launch is not rational, and the loyalty that people feel for their iPhones is incredible. Apple hones in on and reinforces this emotional loyalty through its advertising and messaging.
A Strong Brand Will Make It Easier To Build Trust
Strong B2B marketing also establishes credibility and keeps you from seeming like a fly-by-night outfit. Engaging, sophisticated branding helps illustrate that you’re a legitimate company with consistent product or service offerings. Think of it this way: Good branding is like having a credit card that loans out client trust until you get the opportunity to prove yourself firsthand.
You Differentiate Your Brand In B2B Marketing
Branding can be hugely helpful in distinguishing yourself from competitors. You may offer the same kind of product or service as a competitor, but you aren’t a clone. Don’t let yourself look like one. Ensure your organization’s colors, logos, mission statement, and overall personality are unique, well thought out, and distinct from other manufacturing brands.
As you’re working on your branding strategy, remember to be your biggest advocate. Be true to your brand, but don’t be afraid to brag.
In B2B marketing, it’s critical to differentiate yourself. This is where you need your branding to create a story that sets you apart from your competitors. Your story doesn’t need to be complex, but it does need to be unique and attention-grabbing to help you stand out from the noise of competing brand messages, so don't forget your unique selling proposition.
With enough research, you’ll have a better idea of the particular audiences you’re targeting and the space in which you can connect with them. Aim to keep your message simple and easily relatable, but provide enough detail that your audience can connect to your offering on a human level.
Top manufacturers make their brand stand out with a profile on the Thomas Network.
Steps To Build Your Manufacturing Brand
While your company may not become a household name, you can leverage branding to create a stronger association between who you are and what you offer, giving you an advantage over your competition.
Before you can convey who you are to others, you have to know for yourself. Try crafting a concise, succinct statement that explains what your company is and what you stand for. What are you? What are you not? What do you stand for? If you mass-produce widgets to be sold at rock-bottom prices, then say so. If you’re all about superior, handcrafted whatnots, make that known. Leave no ambiguity.
Finally, what is it that you do well? Make certain that those who encounter your brand know without a doubt what you provide and what they can expect from you. And be real.
Here are three ways to kickstart your manufacturing brand strategy.
Research Your Competition
While building a brand isn’t rocket science, it does take some research and planning. One of the first things you need to understand is who you are competing against. Research these companies and study their marketing messages. By understanding how your business relates to the competition, you can develop a strategy to distinguish yourself. Then, use this information to write your mission statement, which helps you identify the value you offer to your customers.
Identify Your Target Audience
The research doesn’t stop there. Next, you’ll want to make sure you’ve identified your target audience. It’s impossible to appeal to everyone, so knowing who your consumers are will help you create branding they can relate to as you form your brand voice. The voice you use in your marketing gives your brand its personality; brand voice serves to differentiate you from the competition while engaging with your target audience.
Give Your Company An Identity
Once you've determined your brand's personality, it's time to give your brand an identity. To do this, you’ll need to update (or create!) a logo and tagline that will appear throughout your marketing materials. These identifying characteristics of your brand are a simple representation of the qualities and benefits your brand offers.
Your brand message, which should be one or two short sentences, will give a more detailed explanation of your value proposition, inspire your target audience, and motivate them to choose you over the competition.
Create Content To Build Your Manufacturing Brand
The ideation process for creating content to build your brand can be difficult. You might not think your manufacturing brand is unique or interesting, but your brand includes everything from why your company was founded to how you answer customer service phone calls.
Use these questions to dig into the issues people will want to hear about and create a marketing plan to address them:
- What were the biggest challenges you faced when founding and scaling your business? How did you overcome them? What did you learn from the struggle?
- Has your family played a role in the story of the business?
- How has your company impacted the town or city where your business is headquartered? In turn, how has the area you live in affected the development of your business?
- Did anything inspire you to create the business?
By answering these questions, you can flesh out your story and discover insights people will love to read about. Remember to stress the emotional angle. Highlight your struggles and triumphs that will resonate with your audience. People crave stories where they can feel what the characters are experiencing.
Each answer to the questions above should provide an idea for a potential piece of content. The next step is deciding how to format the fragments of your story and where to place them. Below are a few options.
About Us Page
If your manufacturing website has an About Us page (and it should), consider using it to host a general overview of your story. A few paragraphs should be enough to explain what your company is and how you founded it. Feel free to mention brand values and industry accomplishments. If your business has a history of significant changes, use a timeline to highlight milestones.
Remember to include at least one photo. Most sites have a picture of the founder or CEO, although you can also include images of your team. Potential customers should be able to see the people they are contemplating working with.
Read More: The Must-Haves On Your Company About Us Page
Blog Posts and Press Releases
One detail about your business can be an entire story in itself, and a blog post can illustrate that story. A particularly harrowing challenge could be one post, and a time of transition could be another. You can also convert blog posts to videos or create original video content. No matter what the medium is, the principle of storytelling is the same.
Consider submitting a press release through the Thomas Network. This method will allow you to reach thousands of relevant buyers and engineers who may already be searching for you. Think of the strategy as a version of a traditional press release that will target people who might be lower in your marketing funnel, those who have knowledge of the field and are closer to purchasing a manufacturing service.
Videos don't always come to mind when it comes to increasing your brand, but they are becoming an effective tool for manufacturers to strengthen their brand and get more leads. Many manufacturers and industrial companies have turned to videos to share customer success stories or give a shop tour. When done effectively, videos can elicit emotion in different ways than traditional advertising can. Emotional appeals aren't just for consumer brands — see examples of manufacturers who use emotion in their marketing here.
The key to all effective marketing is to use messaging that speaks to buyers' challenges. Use real imagery of your manufacturing business and your employees so buyers can understand who you are at a personal level. Many manufacturing companies add videos to their Thomasnet.com Company Profile. It's a solution that combines the power of online advertising with video on the leading platform where buyers do their jobs every day.
Social Media Campaigns
Are you familiar with #ThrowbackThursday? If you have an old photo that reveals something interesting about you or your company, post it on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram during a Thursday and use the aforementioned hashtag. Look for any relevant image that offers a glimpse of your journey. Think of it like a "Then and Now" post.
You can also distribute fun bits of trivia to keep your posts engaging. Tweet a few "Did You Know?" facts about the company’s origins your customers might not know about. Remember that social media marketing is an ongoing initiative. Schedule more than one branding post and mix them into your other posts for lead generation.
How Strong Is Your Manufacturing Brand?
If you’re all about quality, make innovative products and stand behind your products. If your edge is quick delivery, follow through on shipping demands. Consultative? Continue to show up in your buyer’s world, adding value after the transaction is complete.
Solid branding can go a long way in establishing your presence in the marketplace. If you’re looking for some inspiration, watch the video below to see how Thomas rebranded itself in the past.
Or, if you’re having trouble getting started and need help from an industrial marketing expert, reach out to our team today. We’ll help you build an engaging marketing strategy that will set you apart from the competition.
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