Manufacturing companies aren’t always the first to jump at marketing and advertising. Most of their business comes from referrals, direct sales, and word of mouth. However, creating and promoting a unique brand within this space will not only help support and amplify the direct sales efforts of your sales team but can get you additional attention from customers that may not have even known you existed before. Here are 5 ways that you can build and promote a manufacturing brand that will increase your overall bottom line.
1) Identify What Makes Your Business Unique
If I asked you right now “what makes your business unique and why would someone hire your company over a competitor” would you easily be able to answer this question? Believe it or not, a lot of salespeople and even owners and CEOs struggle with this question. Obviously, there is a reason customers have chosen your company out of all the other available choices, but why is that? It’s important to answer this question before you start promoting your brand. To identify what makes your business unique, use this framework…
- What are the unique features and benefits of your service? Maybe your in-house tooling capabilities save your customers money, or you offer a unique process that yields a higher quality product. This answer is going to be different for everyone based on their specific business and capabilities.
- Think about the true problem you are solving for your customers. You are making more than a “part” for them; you are solving a problem.
- What do you offer in your products and services that your competitors can’t?
- And finally, what is the promise to your customer? For example, do you guarantee your parts? Timelines? Pricing? What is truly “in it” for your customers if they choose to do business with you over the competition?
Your brand message, identity, and overall marketing should easily spell out to your prospects and your customers “this is what makes us unique, and this is why you should pay us for our services”.
2) Develop a Strong Brand Identity
Your brand identity is how your brand looks in the world, your logo, typography, messaging, signage, vehicles, website, and more. There are a lot of clean, sophisticated, and mature brand identities in the marketing industry… and a lot of terrible ones as well. If you want your prospects to be drawn to your company, having a unique brand identity is crucial. After all, we are visual beings. So, where to start?
- Does your current logo match up to the professionalism of your organization? We’re not going to call your baby ugly, but if your answer is “no” you will want to consider a rebranding. Your logo is a promise mark to your customers, and the overall building block of the rest of your brand identity.
- Does your messaging properly represent your capabilities and the unique differentiators of your company? As we sighted in the first section of this article, it is important that your brand emphasizes what makes your business unique across all applications.
- Create a branding guide. A branding guide identifies the correct usages of your logo, proper typography/type choices, color schemes, messaging, and more. It is a guide to refer to when creating any identity piece for your organization and is used to keep your brand consistent.
- Now that you have a guide, is your brand consistent everywhere? Having your brand consistent across all platforms can help sales increase as much as 23% (source: Forbes). If you have taken the proper steps of updating your brand and creating brand guidelines, it’s now time to make sure that this brand is consistent across all elements of your business.
3) Use Data and Statistics
Anyone can say “we serve some of the biggest brands” or “we have quick turnarounds”, but this really tells your prospects nothing. It’s vague, non-memorable, and ineffective. However, making a slight change to these claims using specifics can completely change the narrative. Here are some examples.
- We currently service 23 of the top 25 automotive companies in the world.
- We can create the parts you need, on-time, within 24 hours guaranteed.
- Our in-house tooling saves our customers an average of 23% on tooling costs per year.
Obviously, it’s important that these claims are true and accurate. Building a brand is about building trust, and if you get caught in a lie… well, you get it.
4) Create Case Studies Around Your Customers
Case studies are a great way to tell a story of how you successfully helped one of your customers reach a goal. These can vary in length and detail, but the most important thing is that you effectively communicate a) Customer ABC had this problem b) This was our solution to the problem and c) This was the result. The great thing about case studies is they don’t have to live in one place – here are some areas where you can and should promote your case studies.
- Post case studies on your website so new web traffic can learn about how you have solved customer problems.
- Use LinkedIn to push and promote your case studies.
- Create a printable format of your case studies that your sales team can bring to new prospects.
- Include your case studies in your sales presentation (PowerPoint, etc.)
- Send case studies out as part of a quarterly newsletter.
The goal here is to document and use these stories to help build your brand’s credibility. If you, for example, helped SpaceX develop parts for a rocket that successfully launched into space – let’s talk about it and showcase those capabilities! There’s a reason one of the most innovative aerospace companies in the world hired your facility, and people will recognize that if you share the story.
If you want to reference how we have done some of our case studies to give you an idea of how you can create yours, visit the case study page on our website here.
5) Get Customer Video Testimonials
Getting customer video testimonials can sometimes be logistically tricky and difficult to coordinate, but if you can pull it off it can be very powerful. 85% of US citizens watch online video content every month (source: Statista) and the thirst for video content is constantly increasing. It’s simple; people watch video. If you can capture one of your customers on video saying how incredible your company is, people are going to tune in. Here are some suggestions on how to successfully execute a customer video testimonial.
- Hire a professional video company. Video is just more powerful if it’s shot professionally. If you are on a tight budget you can try to pull this off yourself, but don’t expect that same quality you will get from a professional.
- Create a list of questions for your customers. We suggest asking your customers a list of questions and letting them answer naturally. Remember, your customer isn’t a professional actor – the more naturally you let them answer their questions, the more authentic it will come out on camera.
- Coordinate multiple testimonials on the same day. Try to get these customers to come to you, on the same day. That way, you can shoot multiple testimonials in one day vs. having to hire a video team to come out multiple different days.
- Soundproof the area. Make sure you shoot these testimonials in an area where there isn’t going to be a bunch of background noise, or people walking in and out of the room. This will all get picked up and diminish from the video overall.
- Keep it short. Your customer doesn’t need to go into the immense hour-long dialogue about your relationship with them. Keep your end clip around 1-minute max.
- Prepare them on the dress code. Remind them, however, they dress in this video is going to represent their company, as you are going to be pushing this content on all your marketing platforms.
- Have them sign a release form. It’s important to have your customers sign a release form that legally gives you the right to use this video for any and all marketing purposes. The last thing you want is to create a legal issue in the future.
Many manufacturing companies are in different phases of their brand development. Obviously, there are more than 5 things you can do to better help your brand and market your manufacturing company, but this is a good place to start.
At a super high-level, so much of branding is just figuring out your compelling reasons that your customer base should buy from you instead of your competitors. For some manufacturers, this is very simple and for others more challenging, but many times it can be the difference between winning and losing on the big stage.
If you have questions or would like help figuring out where your brand is and what it could be doing, contact Drive Creative at (248) 579-9972 or visit us at drivecreativeagency.com