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Manufacturing Industrial Brand Marketing, part 3

Mon, Jul 08, 2013 @ 11:40 AM / by Chuck Lohre

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Brand types are as varied as successful businesses types

Most companies have various divisions -- new products, old products, engineering services, parts and service. Sometimes Company A purchases Company B and rebrands it to conform to Company A's existing corporate industrial marketing. Perhaps they can weather the disruption and transition. That's if customers don't mind what Company A calls itself as long as they get the same quality and service offered by Company B.

 Industrial Marketing Branding

But if the structure of the Company B is disrupted and the resources removed that would allow continued success, it is doomed to failure. Sometimes blamed on poor branding, it really is a problem with the basic business strategy. Puppies and bunnies can live together if raised together, but can you teach an old dog new tricks?

Basic industrial products and services often operate on slim margins, below 20%. Metal fabrication is sometimes priced by the pound, but it's size, weight and wear parts that really matter to a chemical processing machine or rock crusher. A company that has survived for generations making a basic kettle on 9% margins can't be required to generate 20%+ margins in the way a new proprietary drug manufacturing reactor equipment can.

Industrial Marketing Branding

The trick is to have a business strategy that nurtures high-margin offerings and aligns with growing market forces, not force a simple piece of equipment to generate profits it can't and the market won't pay for. Only once in a generation will there be enough food to feed two Emperor Penguins' young, most likely only one will survive.

If the reason for the business's being isn't appropriate, no amount of branding will make it so.

Strategic growth brands buy great companies and make them better. Other brands, buy undervalued companies and sell piecemeal thereby making a profit. The worst brands burden their new acquisitions with unrealistic charges to pay off the purchase price. Strategic growth brands have a technological advantage, an advantage they grow themselves by educating their employees, inventing new technologies that satisfy exactly their core markets and reinforce their company foundations. Other brands find cheaper ways to make a commodity.

Industrial Marketing Branding

Strategic growth brands are experts on problem solving. They see a possible purchase and know they can solve the market problems, purchase the company, and rebrand just enough to give confidence to their customers. They then proceed to correct problems and grow market share. Over time the old brand name may go away, but the awareness and customer base will not. Turtles are survivors because they are designed for that reason.

To conclude, use the brand to solve business problems. If it doesn't help business, it's a problem.

Typically these are the types of industrial manufacturing brands and their strategy:

  • One brand with one strategy to evolve into future markets
  • Several brands with individual strategies but an overall parent logo bug with not much more oversight
  • Many unique brands and different strategies, maybe no parent company identity if each is profitable
  • Another related company owned by a larger company, typically a competitor that is then managed by the larger internal competitor or kept as a competitor (awkward!)
  • An unrelated company purchased by a larger company because its assets are worth more than the purchase price, hopefully the assets aren't need to operate profitably
  • Companies that don't want any relation to the parent company and have their own solid brand and strategy
  • No brand, no strategy, go to work and put out fires.

Regardless of what type of company it is the management needs to decide if they are going to let the customers decide what the brand means or are they going to decide what the brand means to the customer. Customers only know the bare minimum about any company's brand. They only purchase a few products from the company and know all about them and what they mean to the profitability of their company. If you let your customers decide what your brand means you will have many different brands to manage. To be a forward looking brand, one that in proactive and evolving, upper management needs to clarify what they want the brand to mean and communicate it memorably and often. Your customer will never say, "I didn't know you offered that!"

If you liked this post you might like to read others in the series:

Part 2, Brand strategy reflects the business strategy

Part 1, Introduction to industrial branding


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Topics: Industrial Marketing, Industrial Marketing Ideas, Industrial Advertising, Industrial Branding, Branding and Identity, Marketing Strategy, Business to Business Marketing, Advertising, Cincinnati Marketing Agencies, Business to Business Advertising, Branding Agency, Cincinnati Marketing Firm, Branding

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Written by Chuck Lohre

Owner of Lohre & Associates Marketing Communications. The company celebrated their 80th Anniversary in 2015, his 38th.