When was the last time you evaluated your branding?
Many manufacturers appear to be stuck in the past. They still use the same manufacturing brand and marketing tactics that they used 20 or even 50 years ago. It’s as if the original owner valued branding and marketing when they first started the company, but then never returned to it. These companies have been riding on the success of their original efforts for years because they’ve been able to do so thus far.
Unfortunately, branding and marketing is not something you can just set and forget. This is especially true nowadays in our fast-paced digital world. Although many manufacturing sectors have been on a decline for years, others haven’t — it just looks like it! This is something you have full control over—making sure your manufacturing brand and marketing aren’t outdated.
First Step – Get Objective
Try to look at your branding from a fresh outside perspective, as if you’ve never heard of your company before and you’re comparing it to similar brands. Nora Ashmen, the director of marketing at Vac-U-Max, says, “It’s important to look fresh, professional, forward-facing and forward-thinking.” Be honest: Does your business look like it’s cutting-edge and ready to compete in the future? Does it stand out (in a good way)? Or, does your company look outdated, irrelevant and amateurish?
Instantly Change Perception
To reiterate, buyers quickly make judgements of your company based on the first things they see—your logo, business card, trade show booth or website—and these judgements can either help or hurt you. When we spoke with Jennifer Lucano, the creative director at LAMATEK, Inc., and asked her about the importance of their business looking fresh and up-to-date, she said, “I believe it’s very important for our business. A big part of our image is based on innovation and our ability to evolve with the times. So, our brand image has to reflect that as well. If our marketing or our branding is outdated, can we really expect people to believe that our processes and our technology are current?”
It’s important to be honest with yourself. At first glance, what type of impression does your branding convey? Do you come across as:
- Small, mid-sized or large?
- Local, regional, national or international?
- Cheap or high-quality?
- Affordable or expensive?
- Fast or slow?
- Professional or amateurish?
- Fun or boring?
- Fresh or old?
- Trustworthy or risky?
- Organized or chaotic?
- Consistent or unpredictable?
Every manufacturer we interviewed agreed. “It’s very important to be perceived as legit. Trust is very important.” David Beck, president & CEO of ADI
No matter where your branding stands now, there’s good news for the future. The perception of your company can easily be improved with better branding and marketing. With the right logo, tagline, website, messaging, marketing, and trade show booth, you can win the trust and respect of your ideal customer from the very first moment. Such positive perception helps build credibility, gets your foot in the door for new opportunities, gets the buyer excited and can even help close the sale.
How do You Want to Be Perceived?
Now, let’s go through those same bullet point questions again, but this time, answer based on how you want your business to be perceived moving forward. If the way in which you want your company to be perceived (second answer) doesn’t match up with how it’s currently being perceived (first answer), then it’s time to revisit your branding and marketing. It’s time to improve the way prospects perceive your business.
“[Rebranding] made us look progressive, which is where I was going the whole time and still am today.” John Lohse, president of Betar, Inc.