Manufacturing brand marketing often gets overlooked in commerce. Managers in this sector tend to focus more on word of mouth in the form of referrals to attract clients. This is an informal type of branding in itself, but manufacturers need a more formal strategy to beat the competition and rise to the top of potential clients’ lists. Otherwise, a company may get lost in the noise of other manufacturers clamoring for first place in the market.
Why Brand Manufacturing Is So Important
What many manufacturing businesses learn over time is that the industry is crowded. Companies in the western hemisphere also face stiff competition from China, Thailand and India. Here, production often gets outsourced for a fraction of the cost of building or assembling elsewhere. Within these regions, competition is even more fierce and the companies that regularly come out on top get the big contracts.
1. Brand Recognition
More often than not, manufacturing is a B2B business. The exceptions are B2C companies that manufacture their own products. However, modern customers are also more informed than ever before. Many are familiar with manufacturer names and brands and may judge a final product by not just what company manufactured it but where it was assembled.
One example of this is Bang & Olufsen. This Danish company produces luxury audio products that earn the loyalty of the likes of Audi and Audi’s target demographic. Audi uses its products in the highest trim levels of its vehicles and it’s not quiet about it. For its lower-level trims, Audi uses another premium manufacturer of sound systems: Bose. When its customers hear these brand names, they know exactly what level of quality to expect.
2. Brand Differentiation
B2B clients and B2C customers see a myriad of brands every day and never recognize them. Even well-known manufacturing brands get lost in the mayhem. For example, the average person often cannot tell the difference between a Toyota Corolla and Hyundai Elantra when stuck in traffic. Unless they have a special interest in motor vehicle brands, to them, these cars are just sedans.
However, when they see a Tesla Model X, almost everyone knows not just that it is an electric vehicle, but the name of the company that makes it. Manufacturing companies should aim to create this level of differentiation. There are a number of ways to do this. Unique designs are easily copied in the long run. However, improving customer experience and maintaining the highest levels of quality are differentiating factors that few competitors may have the time or skill to replicate.
3. Emotional Connection
Unless a company targets other demographics specifically, it’s important to note that millennials and Gen Z now dominate the market. This is due to not just their sheer numbers but the ways in which their spending habits drive radical changes in most market sectors. For instance, they are more inclined than other generations to spend money on products that align with specific lifestyle choices and causes they support.
Sometimes their purchases represent philanthropic interests, such as saving the environment by purchasing an electric vehicle. Other times, it is more about aligning with the brand image, such as the luxury of a Tesla over the practicality of a Toyota Prius. When companies learn to create and tap into these emotional bonds, they create faithful customers at the B2B and B2C levels.
4. Increase Demand
The aftermath of all the benefits highlighted above is that customers may have a stronger desire for a specific company’s products. Return to the example of Audi and its audio partners. There is a reason one of the world’s most well-known luxury brands trusts these manufacturers. Customers already demand their products, Audi or no Audi. However, Audi found a way to improve the appeal of its own brand by leveraging the appeal of other manufacturing partners.
Other manufacturers are not the only companies that begin to seek out a company’s products when it is in high or premium demand. Retail stores and other distribution centers may make bigger orders to ensure they have what customers want in stock. Depending on the type of product, customers themselves may also order directly from the manufacturer. Many Audi owners have Bose and Bang & Olufsen products ordered directly from the audio makers right at home.
5. Higher Pricing
As demand increases, the law of supply and demand may now come into effect. Companies can then start to price their products higher, while also taking advantage of economies of scale from increased production over time. This leads to higher revenue but lower production costs, causing profits to increase exponentially.
When other customers come across the product for the first time in this price range, the branding now plays a role. Businesses may look at quality, packaging, design and even earned press. Customers compare the product’s cost to how well it alleviates their pain points to define value. The example of the customer who prefers to pay premium pricing for a Tesla over saving money on a Toyota Prius illustrates this.
6. Trade Negotiation Power
Smaller companies often struggle to gain a strong footing in negotiations with larger partners. The larger company often ends up dictating the terms of the agreement. More often than not, those terms benefit the larger company far more than it does the smaller one. When companies obtain the benefits above through manufacturing branding, their voices carry more weight at the negotiation table.
Take, for example, a small tech company that makes popular DIY home security installations. There is just one caveat. Despite the motion sensors and auto-lock features on the doors and windows, they have no 24/7 emergency monitoring. Even so, their customers love their products so much that they are willing to call the police themselves or get security systems while insisting on keeping their own devices. This company has a much stronger ability to negotiate 24/7 monitoring subscriptions with the likes of ADT or BRINKS.
How To Improve Manufacturing Brand Marketing
Whether a company plans to become a household name, a premier choice in the business world or both, there are several options available. The ones they choose may ultimately come down to the structure of the business, the organizational culture and a manager’s personal preference.
1. Assess the Starting Point
Companies often jump headfirst into marketing plans without first assessing where they are. This may cause them to spend tens of thousands of dollars fixing something that was never broken. To prevent this from happening, a company should take a look at all its data and its business plan. Business owners may then address the following questions:
- How well does the business achievements line up to the goals created at its onset?
- Is it on track or has it stagnated?
- What are the strategies that are working and which ones need to be changed or set aside?
2. Research the Competition
The next step that business managers should take is to analyze their competitors. They can then use other businesses as a benchmark to determine how well their own businesses measure up. Researching the competition also helps them to better determine what works and what doesn’t by taking a look at the success and failures earned by the competition’s marketing strategies so far.
3. Identify the Targets
Managers often do this work halfway or not at all. They either have no idea who their target demographic is or make wrong guesses by not taking the data into account. For B2B manufacturers, they may know exactly what companies form their ideal demographic but not know which decision-makers to reach out to. Bridging this knowledge gap can improve the effectiveness of telemarketing and email marketing.
4. Create a Strong Brand
Not every company has a brand. Some manufacturers focus on the numbers, completing assignments and remaining compliant. The company has a name and maybe a lettered-logo in formal-looking font and that is all. A brand requires more than this. Branding decides the colors associated with a business, from the factory to the uniforms to the warehouse. It also sets a tone online and off that customers can recognize anywhere.
5. Optimize the Website
Even when they never hire a marketing agency for any other reason, companies often rely on professionals to optimize their website. This may involve both the design and the content. Optimizing your website ensures it ranks higher in search engines, thus generating more leads and improving revenue. If more traffic does not translate into more business, then the company knows that further optimization is necessary to retain the visitors they attract and convert them into customers.
6. Hire Professionals
Some business owners and managers can handle manufacturing brand marketing on their own. The larger a company and the more clients they serve, the more necessary it becomes to outsource this work to professionals. By doing this, companies tap into an existing network of skills and talent that is focused on building a brand, advertising that brand and improving its place in the market.
Momentum is a B2B digital marketing agency that specializes in working with manufacturers and other industrial clients. We equip companies with the talent, technology and tools they need to drive market change rather than be led by it. For more information about the services we provide, contact us at 586-265-2562.