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Branding Basics—4 Rules for Success

Is a Branding Program Right for Your Company?Company Branding

The question of branding often arises: is this a practical approach for most B2B industrial companies? Focus groups in which I’ve been involved with design engineers would suggest the answer is NO. Why? Engineers are looking for specifications and capabilities to match their application. So, while knowing my hamburger is going to taste pretty much the same from one McDonalds to the next, or feeling a bit like Michael Jordan when I lace up a pair of Nikes helps me identify and appreciate these “brands” from a “consumer” standpoint, the average business specifier or buyer is working from a more disciplined standpoint.


This said, strengthening your brand will help your product win the sale against a competitor when all else is equal. The principle behind the old adage, “No one ever got fired for buying IBM” is still in effect; you want to be the company that is the “no-brainer” at purchase time. Other benefits of a strong brand are the command of higher margins, better acceptance of new products, and as a barrier to market entry by would-be competitors.

The Main Rules for Success

 

1. Your company’s brand must be legitimate.

The brand should match your key audiences’ concept of your company rather than an abstract idea you want to force on them. Positioning must be built around a promise that you can realistically deliver.

2. Your brand should be distinctive.

Consumers are bombarded with thousands of messages each day. To be successful, your company’s brand name has to stand out in the clutter. Remember: the purpose of a brand is not to describe but to distinguish.

3. You brand should be relevant.

If your messages are not meaningful to key audiences, they will be ignored. Many companies spend too much time using their own “internal-speak” and don’t effectively communicate messages that will resonate most with customers. It is important that you communicate in terms of benefits your target audiences find most desirable.

4. Your brand should be consistent.

To build an effective brand relationship with customers, everything from employee training tools to marketing pieces should incorporate key messages. Each time consumers experience your organization — from seeing the company logo on the side of a truck to the way a receptionist answers the phone — a message is communicated. And when all messages are consistent, you are well on your way to building cumulative power for the brand. When it comes to branding, everything speaks.


Conclusion

For many manufacturing companies, pure branding programs are prohibitively expensive and may not be the best investment of limited resources. Manufactures can’t lose sight that their core customers need to be sold on the products and services first. Make a great product and communicate its superiority and benefits, and you will have taken a big step forward in sales growth. However, strengthening your brand should influence the steps you take to market your company and its products. Any and all elements of your company that touches customers, prospects, and yes, vendors and employees should be blessed by a marketing specialist to assure that it reinforces your brand in a consistent manner.

 

 

Newsflash

Yesterday all servers in the U.S. went out on strike in a bid to get more RAM and better CPUs. A spokes person said that the need for better RAM was due to some fool increasing the front-side bus speed. In future, buses will be told to slow down in residential motherboards.