Can a brand be built overnight? Of course, the answer is no. Building your brand requires persistence, effort and market knowledge. The reward for creating a winning brand comes when customers give their loyalty to the brand.
Earning customer loyalty is an important factor in brand building because it’s much less expensive to maintain these customers. Loyal customers stand up for your products or services, which keeps marketing investments relatively lower.
On the other hand, it’s much more expensive and challenging to grab loyal customers of competing brands because they tend not to want to switch. Doing so is risky for them.
Based on my experience, there are three building blocks to developing and managing a winning brand that resonates with industrial customers. Let’s take a look at each one.
How well do you understand your customers’ headaches? Customers buy your product because it solves a problem. Great industrial brands have a clear picture of the challenges their customers face and their marketing tactics clearly describe how the brand solves those challenges. This leads to brand trust and credibility over time.
Don’t be surprised if demand for your products comes from more than one customer segment. Each customer segment has unique challenges. That means your product solves different problems depending on the segment. I see it often with my clients and that’s a good thing for them! It reduces their strategic risk. When one segment is in decline, their brand is solid in another segment that is flourishing.
One final note related to customer empathy. The customers’ judgement of the quality of a brand gives the brand value, influencing whether or not they purchase it. If the consumer views a brand as valuable, this can sustain a higher price tag on the products or services. This observation is based on a model developed by Kevin Lane Keller, a Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College marketing professor. Mr. Keller’s model is called the Customer-Based Brand Equity (CBBE) Model.
A client of mine is a business operations guru. Give him a problem to solve on the shop floor or in the front office and he’ll solve it. Once fixed, he’s ready to close out that project and take on the next issue.
Marketing and branding aren’t like that. The “set it and forget it” approach doesn’t work. Successful branding requires constant care and feeding. I strongly recommend a continuous improvement mentality. Review the marketing tactics that support your brand on a monthly basis and adjust your tactics accordingly. Base your marketing content decisions on a review of the performance of the company’s digital marketing assets.
There’s a page you can borrow from the quality management playbook. They practice what is known as the Deming Cycle. According to The American Society for Quality (ASQ), there are four separate, but interrelated steps in the cycle: Plan, Do, Check and Act. For more detail on each step, click here.
Fortunately, tools exist to support the brand that are highly measurable, economical and effective. Check out this blog post from Affinity that explains how to develop them and use them in building your brand.
What’s different about your company and its product offering? In order to compete, your brand has to offer something that’s hard to get somewhere else.
Identify what is unique about your product or service. Customers need a good reason to switch because it’s risky for them to leave one brand and go to another. The more unique your product is, the more likely it is that a customer will find value in it.
To pinpoint what sets your product apart from the competition, think about how you would complete this statement, “unlike other products on the market, our product will _____”.
Apply these three building blocks in developing your brand strategy. They lead to great things: loyal customers, greater engagement, improved margins and better allocation of scarce marketing resources. Need help with building your brand? Contact Affinity.