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Review: "Designing B2B Brands" for industrial marketing, part 4

Tue, Sep 24, 2013 @ 10:47 AM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Industrial Marketing, Marketing Communications, Industrial Branding, Branding and Identity, Literature Design, Promotional Brochure Design, Marketing Strategy, Business to Business Marketing, B2B Marketing, B2B Advertising, Advertising, Graphic Design, Advertising Design, Business to Business Advertising, Advertisement Design, Branding Agency, Cincinnati Branding, Graphic Design Agency, Branding

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 Section 1 > Brand Overview > Brand Purpose

More thoughts on "Designing B2B Brands: Branding lessons from Deloitte and 195,000 Brand Managers," by Carlos Martinez Onaindia and Brian Resnick who worked for Deloitte's Global Brand & Communications group, while writing the book. These reviews look at branding from the point of view of our clients who manufacture industrial products.

Good branding requires manufacturers to have a purpose. There are several kinds of purposes for manufacturers:

Industrial marketing Firefighters

Go to work and put out fires. Fundamental problems in the market and the product are being ignored. The problems will never go away and their competitors know it. This is typically illustrated by faulty product design and engineering that won't allow manufacturing improvements and economical line extension.



Industrial marketing cash cow
Treat the company as a cash cow. The company has a competitive advantage -- as long as the product can be sold, made, shipped and serviced economically -- there will be a large amount of cash that can be extracted. Decisions are only made to reduce the costs of making, shipping and servicing, not to create major new market products.

 

Industrial marketing polar bear

Struggle to evolve and stay ahead in a market that is disappearing. The only solution is to create a new business model for the new markets, nearly impossible for older companies, only with deep dives into world class emerging technology and leveraging inexpensive new internet marketing techniques. Requires reeducating upper management and then their leadership. Employee growth is prime objective. You'll find this in employee owned companies (Publix Super Markets Inc.). The most advanced, progressive and technologically creative manufacturing companies are this type. Some require more than 50 hours of continuing education by each employee and give opportunities to every employee that wants to grow, learn and take on more responsibility.

 

industrial marketing ants

Micro-managing organization with state-of-the-art HR departments. It may seem inhuman but these are the most effective multi-nationals. Everything is measured and feedback given. Likewise, advanced research, industrial intelligence, global economics and IT tools are available for employee growth and product development. From the day you are hired, you are told exactly how you will be judged and compensated; but also given the tools to achieve your Big Hairy Audacious Goals.

 

Industrial marketing tree
Center your company around a unique technology. As long as you can keep ahead of any competition and get a generous margin, you can stay in business. Companies like this sometimes both sell the equipment and sell the parts the equipment can produce. Businesses like this can have a wonderful technological advantage both in engineering and marketing. Their unique selling proposition is understood by employees and customers.

 

 Industrial marketing homo sapiens

An environmental sustainable purpose for a company would be to work with the environment -- manufacturing things from others' waste and your waste is raw material for another company's product. Metal foundries are an age old example of this type of continually recycling business purpose. Mother Nature does this continually and we are just beginning to understand how to mimic natural processes to do the same. Patagonia is a good example of this company type, "The Footprint Chronicles® examines Patagonia’s life and habits as a company. The goal is to use transparency about our supply chain to help us reduce our adverse social and environmental impacts – and on an industrial scale. We’ve been in business long enough to know that when we can reduce or eliminate a harm, other businesses will be eager to follow suit."

This isn't your Dad's industrial marketing

If you liked this blog post you might be interested in another post on how Lohre & Assoc. is implementing sucessuful marketing campaigns by focusing on using new internet tools to aquire prospects, convert them into customers and delight them with customer service.


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Manufacturing Industrial Brand Marketing, part 3

Mon, Jul 08, 2013 @ 11:40 AM / by Chuck Lohre posted in 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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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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Manufacturing Industrial Brand Marketing, part 1

Thu, May 23, 2013 @ 07:54 PM / by Chuck Lohre posted in Industrial Marketing, Marketing, Industrial Branding, Branding and Identity, Marketing Strategy, B2B Marketing, Cincinnati Marketing Agencies, Branding Agency, Industrial Marketing Agency, identity, Branding

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Introduction to industrial branding

Industrial Brand Marketing resized 600

In 2008, Deloitte Belgium gave hundreds of new hires Mini Coopers. If Lohre & Associates gave cars away, they would be Edison2s. "Edison2 pursues efficiency through the absolute virtues of low weight and low aerodynamic drag.  Although for the X Prize we anticipated developing a hybrid or electric vehicle – hence our name, Edison2 – our studies on efficiency led us away from the significant added weight of batteries needed for an electric or hybrid drive to a one-cylinder, 250cc internal combustion engine fueled by E85. Since then we have also created an electric VLC, which at 350 MPGe set a new standard for 4 passenger electric car efficiency."

Your brand aligns purpose, action and results. For an industrial manufacturer, that includes every part or machine ever sold and how the company plans to create the next generation of product or service.

In this series of blog posts we'll review industrial brand marketing with the purpose of outlining a set of scalable guidelines for any manufacturer to follow. This series will help you create a brand unique to your business and for every touch point including visual, verbal, aural, tactile and taste communications, all five senses.

Clear and Consistent Communication of Trust

jet engine resized 600

The major jet engine manufacturers are perfect examples of industrial brand marketing. Even though their products and markets are some of the most complex, their communcations are perfectly appropriate for their purposes, just like their engines. Photo credit.

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The greatest power of branding the entire organization is that the sum is greater than the parts.

For industrial manufacturers, their brands aren't "the standard of excellence." They can only be "a standard of excellence." Manufacturers make machines, machines are never perfect and people aren't either. Engineers have a broad spectrum of reference standards to follow and maybe create anew. It's the knowledge of the industry standards, the education of their employees and customers that makes a great industrial brand. It's a promise to the customer, not spiritual, not artistic; it's physics. At least as far as we know the physics ;-)

Through a clear and consistent communication of trust a manufacturer can improve its hiring, training, customer relations, vendor relations, community relations, engineering and every other part of the manufacturing process. Even for the banking industry, shareholders, mergers and risk mitigation can benefit from a consistent brand promise.

ASW 15 resized 600

This aircraft marked a significant evolution in the manufacturer's brand. In 1970 a new aeronautical engineer was brought on board to advance the company's offering away from wooden gliders to fiberglass construction. The designers name is so important that it is included in the model of the aircraft. This is an ASW 15 for Alexander Schleicher and Gerhard Waibel. You can just imagine the ripples throughout the company, customers, vendors and community when changing from wood to fiberglass. It also doubled the performance.

From "Designing B2B Brands: Lessons from Deloitte and 195,000 Brand Managers," "Whereas business-to-consumer brand purchases are often made on impulse, business-to-business decisions are driven by myriad factors and can span many months. So for B2Bs, think "best to build": brand embedding requires significant investment, spread over numerous touch-points, over an expanse of time." Hubspot, internet branding software, advises companies to have their brand evolve, test and repeat. This is especially true for manufacturers because you must deal with the product you have in the field. Spare parts sales can account for the majority of a company's revenue.

In the next blog in the series we'll get to work assigning meaning to the many elements that make up industrial marketing communications, advertising, photography, technical illustration, technical editing and (even) engineering.

Part 2.


If you enjoyed this post you may also like, "Technical Illustration Guide for Marketing Communications."


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Download our free guide to Sales Lead Generation.

Sales Lead Generation Guide by Cincinnati Marketing Agency Lohre & Associates

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