Why You Need to Take Your Manufacturing Branding Seriously
The tide of manufacturers moving to sell directly to consumers has been monumental over the last few years.
Gone are the days where manufacturers relied on retailers and resellers to distribute their products.
Now anyone can set up a direct to consumer business and sell their products via e-commerce platforms within weeks.
All sounds gravy, right?
Because what it has also meant is that these direct to consumer businesses must now focus on an element which wasn’t always so critical: manufacturing branding.
Manufacturing branding is the process of projecting an image to customers of what your company stands for, and why it makes the products it does.
This is not just a matter of explaining what you do.
It’s about letting your customers know how passionate you are about making the finest quality products in your market. Telling your story in a way which resonates with your customers.
Expectations are at an all-time high for consumers, and without a solid manufacturing brand in place, you might well find your business falling behind. It’s a clear part of the trends and predictions for manufacturers of late.
Still not convinced?
Well, we’re going to go into all the reasons that manufacturing branding is so important to your success as well as some tips on how to achieve it.
But first, let’s get the basics in place...
What is a Manufacturer Brand?
The first thing that probably comes to mind when thinking of manufacturing brands are the giants that have always been.
We’re talking Ford, Nestle, Coca-Cola, Apple and the lot.
But the reality is that there are much smaller brands which also have sway among consumers nowadays.
This is largely down to e-commerce leveling out the playing field and allowing scaling manufacturers innovations to reach a wider audience. In fact, over 53% of new innovations contribute to smaller manufacturers growth as opposed to a meager 5% of large manufacturers.
So now consumers might be turning towards manufacturing brands which provide more innovative products and a closer connection to customers.
Back in the day, these manufacturers would have given most of the marketing and sales responsibilities to the reseller, retailers, and wholesalers they worked with.
Now, the power is in the hands of scaling manufacturers to take control of how their brand is perceived, and directly work with their customers to give them what they want.
Importance of Manufacturing Branding
There’s no doubt that scaling manufacturers now can brand themselves with greater control, thanks to the advent of e-commerce and social media.
However, why is it so important for them to go down this route?
After all, isn’t the product alone enough to grow a business from?
Well, sure a great product is the foundation of your product-making business. But a strong manufacturers brand can reassure your customers that you have their best interests at heart and can provide an alternative to mass retailers that is worthy of their hard-earned cash.
Without it, you risk limiting the growth of your business and making it more difficult to sustain customer loyalty.
Here we’re going to go through a few of the main reasons that you need to take your branding seriously.
1. Grow Customer Recognition
The first point is the most obvious.
Become a strong manufacturing brand in your industry and you might well become synonymous with it.
That means that your brand becomes the number one thing that comes to mind when consumers think about the kind of product you sell.
To give an example, think about ice cream.
What’s the first thing that comes to mind? Magnum.
What about toothpaste? Colgate.
Luxury watches? Rolex.
The manufacturing branding here has been so strong with these companies that we literally connect them in our minds with the products they sell.
Ideally, you will be doing the same thing but on a more specialized and narrow scale.
This will lead to an environment where your brand will become trusted in associated with the type of products you sell. Plus, if you introduce a new product to the market, then customers will already be open to it.
2. Connect Emotionally with Customers
Your manufacturing branding isn’t just a matter of projecting an image into your customer’s minds. It’s about telling a story which pulls on their heartstrings.
Because once you establish your message and the reasons why you are making your products, customers will be able to see you on a more humanized level.
This is especially vital in an age where trends and consumer behavior are constantly changing. Without a lasting emotional connection, it will be too easy for your customers to simply move on to another brand that offers the same but also makes them feel they are part of something greater.
Think about the loyalty people have for brands like Apple.
This is no matter of coincidence and has come from a history of carefully constructing an image which places the customer at the center of everything. Including campaigns such as the “Shot on iPhone” campaign which directly involved customers by inviting them to take pictures on their iPhones and sharing them.
The emotional connection Apple has created is so powerful that people literally queue for hours for their newest products.
Don’t underestimate the emotional connections your manufacturing branding can make.
3. Build a Bond of Trust
By investing in your manufacturing branding, you are subconsciously letting the customer know that you are in it for the long run.
They know that you wouldn’t be putting so much effort into trying to establish a connection and tell your story unless you wanted to continue growing with them.
But that doesn’t work unless the manufacturing branding you display isn’t well thought out and authentic.
Modern consumers will quickly pick up if you are being dishonest or pretending to be something you are not.
4. Increase Distribution Channels
Becoming a recognizable brand isn’t just for drawing in customers.
It will also help draw in potential distributors of your products whom otherwise would be less inclined to take your products on.
Your leverage to set up quality deals with resellers and representatives is going to be much greater when everyone knows how strong your manufacturing branding is.
It makes their lives easier and means less money needs to be spent on marketing from their end.
This is one of those domino effect situations too. Because the more distributors you have, the greater exposure your brand gets.
There is a delicate balance to be maintained here though. You don’t want to lose your personal connection with customers by relieving yourself of brand responsibility.
So, make sure you offer quality customer support to make up for distancing effects of the middleman.
5. Raise Profits
It’s no secret that a strong manufacturing brand is going to allow you to sell at higher prices. People will be happy to pay that extra dollar if they have trust and faith in your business.
But what will really set you apart is once you can beat what is known as private brands in terms of your branding efforts.
Private brands are the home brands of retailers and big resellers, who will be selling slightly lower quality versions of your product at cheap prices.
When it comes to the manufacturer brand vs private brand battle, it’s important that you connect well enough with customers that they won’t be bothered by the price difference.
Quick Tips to Build Your Manufacturing Brand
Tell your story – you want to make sure that customers know why you do what you do. That’s what they connect with. Tell your back story from start to finish in content form and build that all-important emotional connection.
Make valuable content- there's nothing that shows you care more than to be helpful to customers. Give them content which you think will be of use to them and relevant to your products. Guides, eBooks, videos, tutorials, etc.
Show yourself as a thought leader – by explaining the details of your products and why they matter, you can show that you are an expert in the field that can be trusted.
Design appropriately – make sure that your logo, web design, product bundling and graphics all work together in harmony. They need to all be telling the same story and giving off a unified tone.
Develop community – consumers are moving to buy from manufacturers directly because they feel less alienated from the process this way. So, build on this and engage with your customers on social media. Be active, answer questions and foster a feeling of togetherness.
Help others tell your story – using social media and influencer marketing is a great way to bolster your manufacturing branding. Choose your representatives carefully and they can help tell your story for you.
The importance of manufacturing branding should be clear to see now.
In an age where your story matters as much as your product, it’s no secret that you need to get it right.
Though as challenging as it might be, consider too that there is plenty of opportunities to be had here. Get it right and your name might well become synonymous with the type of products you sell.
That’s the benefit that comes with cutting out the middleman.
What’s also vital to consider here though, is that you need to be delivering on your promises too.
The high expectations of customers need to be met. Whether that be in terms of product quality, on-time deliveries or customer support.
Ideally, you are going to want tools which help run your scaling manufacturing business and give you the time to work on your branding in the process.
Katana Smart Manufacturing Software has been designed for scaling manufacturers that are looking to build on their manufacturing branding and improve their operations simultaneously.
For example, by having your raw materials managed automatically by Katana’s advanced booking engine, you know exactly how much stock you have to fulfill your orders. Plus, you will always know when you need to be purchasing more materials.
It eliminates your reliance on inefficient excel spreadsheets, and instead lets you view your business with an automated, color-coded and visual display.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg, here are some other key benefits:
On-demand access to your manufacturing costs;
Sync accounting with your QuickBooks;
Production scheduling software functionality;
Floor-level control for manufacturing;
Efficient material purchasing plans; and
A way to keep your entire business workflow on a single dashboard.
This way you can manage your manufacturing business efficiently and spend less time on the menial tasks which take up your day.
Instead, you can spend your energy on elements like manufacturing branding, customer support, and product development so that you can grow your business instead.
Because that’s how you’re best going to take advantage of cutting out the middleman and standing out as the preferred choice among the crowd.
Try out a 14-day free trial and see it if its the right fit for you!