Manufacturing in the UK makes up 10% GVA, 45% of exports and directly employs 2.7 million people. The UK is one of the leading players and is currently the ninth largest manufacturing nation in the world. It’s big business, and because of this, it’s extremely competitive, with companies bumping and jostling for space in an already bursting marketplace.
CAN YOU SEE ME?
CAN YOU HEAR ME?
This means that many manufacturers are getting lost in the noise of the crowd.
Yes, there are the poorly designed, the irrelevant and just down right waste of time products that we are bombarded with every day, and Natural Selection unusually selects them for extinction.
Although, there are also hard-working companies, manufactured goods of remarkable quality and effectiveness that are being tragically forgotten and marginalised. It’s crazy, disheartening and sad. Jobs are lost, companies fold, and great ideas and products are dropped into the “Where are they now?” file.
So, in commoditised markets, what sets apart the also-rans from the most successful manufacturers? The answer? An effective all-encompassing branding strategy.
The thing is, only 54% of B2Bs manufacturers have any have a branding strategy, thinking it does not apply and is an unnecessary cost.
Only 7% of this total have what we would be classed as ‘strong and differentiating brand value propositions’, which goes from simply being ‘recognised by name’ to the top level of being coveted and commanding higher prices above their competition. JCB would fall into this category, for instance.
Developing your brand will elevate your manufacturing company above the competition, especially effective in a highly competitive and commoditised market sector.
BRANDING IN MOTION
Of course, competitive costing and the quality of the product is always a big contributing factor when it comes to sales, but there are even bigger questions that manufacture should be asking themselves – deeper questions that go to the very heart of the company.
Begin by looking at what makes your product special. What are your strengths? Hone in on them and push them to the fore. Don’t be all things to all people. Find a niche market. This will set you apart from your competitors. How’s that Logo looking? Is it instantly recognisable, like that of Apple, Nike, or Coca-Cola?
Well, if not, make sure yours is.
GET OUT THERE
It’s no good having the greatest product in the world if people don’t know that it exists. You have to reach out to new audiences. Invest in a good web page, write blogs and articles about your product that show it in its best light. So, now you’ve addressed these key areas, what will a manufacturer gain from developing their company brand?
Here comes the good bit…
IT’S ALL ABOUT TRUST
Human beings are creatures of habit – as cavemen, if we found a stream that gave us the most fish, we went back to it, because we knew it would provide for the tribe each time. Some things just don’t change. When you consistently provide the best product and service in the specific sector you supply, your brand becomes trusted. Brands are like streams, if we trust a companies’ brand we will always go back to them. Without fail a rise in sales will follow.
THE FIRST BRAND THAT COMES TO MIND
Branding Manufactures. When a company has created a beloved, dependable and known brand, it is not only the first brand to present itself in your mind, but also in your search engine. Each time your brand is mentioned online your Google rating goes up, and your position in the “search suggestions” rises with it. With boosted awareness, comes boosted sales.
AN INCREASING EASE IN TRADE NEGOTIATIONS
Known brands can dominate a market, and when you are in demand, your influence on the retailer, distributor and end user becomes far greater than it was before. Now your chance of gaining the premium places on shelves, Tier 1 supplier and positioning on websites will be guaranteed, allowing your product to slip into the prime spot for your customer to grasp. Easier to see, easier to buy.
Branding Manufactures. As knowledge of the brand grows, opportunities that may not have been present before begin to emerge. Connecting with retailers to realign sales deals; being exposed to new and thriving markets, and the chance to push other products and ranges that your company produces.
When a quality brand is consistent, it becomes loved and revered. It becomes special. When you are providing a high-quality product in a niche market, it’s a given that people will invest in the best. Pricing has become de-sensitised. Now it’s up to you choose the premium price for your product. Not a bad position to be in.
LESS TIME IN SALES PITCHES
Branding Manufactures. Unknown brands have a hard time trying to connect to sales teams and retailers. When you have a recognisable brand, the client knows your product without you having to unpack what it is, or what it does. When you cut down sales pitch time, you expand profit. An established brand needs no explanation.
INQUIRIES ARE BOOSTED
As more people experience the brand, understand what it stands for and appreciate the quality, inquiries will naturally increase. Less of your money and time will be needed to invest in advertising because now the product is beginning to sing out loud, and be heard – now it’s beginning to sell itself.
SPREADING THE WORD
A well-known brand can gain traction from the mainstream media and independent analysis in specialist magazines and websites. By creating this public dialogue, your brand starts to be name-checked, and its reach spreads naturally. That brand of yours is now working for you.
CUT OUT THE MIDDLE MAN
With effective branding, the traditional root of getting your product to the public from you, the manufacturer, to the retailer and then the seller can be flipped on its head. A strong brand means that your customers will come to you. You can cut out the middleman completely and sell directly to the client, which means as a manufacturer your profit margins will significantly increase.
GAINING AND KEEPING EMPLOYEES
Branding Manufactures. It’s a given strong brand naturally attract the most capable of candidates. They know that working for a great brand that is revered will hold a significant place on their CV. It pays to be on the winning team. A weaker brand finds it harder to retain staff which results in a higher turnover of employees and the company pumping more money into recruitment as their employees migrate.
WHAT IS NEEDED TO CREATE A DISTINCTIVE AND LEADING BRAND?
Branding Manufactures. In a leading US business magazine relating to the “Top 100 Brands” an article stated that, “The brand names that gained the most in value focus ruthlessly on every detail of their brands, honing simple, cohesive identities that are consistent in every product, in every market around the world, and in every contact with consumers.”
So ask yourself honestly, do you focus ruthlessly on every aspect of your company and make sure the identity of each of your products resonates consistently through the brand?
Have you found a niche in the market that only you and your product can deliver?
Are you trusted by your customers, because they know that you provide a service and products that will always be Gold Standard?
If the answer is yes to all the above, no doubt you have a one-way ticket to Successville, with no connecting flights. Bon Voyage!
If not, it’s time to look at your set up and make changes. It’s time to talk to us about getting a branding strategy that works for you and your unique product. It’s time to stand out, be bold and ask, as a manufacturer, what makes you special? After all, fortune favours the brave.