Your industrial brand is more than just a logo. It’s a promise to your customers that your company is uniquely qualified to help them get something done, whether it’s finding a new compressor for a hydraulic pump or engineering an industrial air filtration system. Creating a brand strategy is essential to ensure that your company separates itself from the industrial pack.
To develop your brand strategy, you will need to articulate key aspects of your business while connecting to your customers’ needs and emotions. You will also need to assess your competitive environment.
Don’t worry, creating a brand strategy isn’t rocket science (even if your business is rocket science). Think of it like creating a blueprint for your marketing and sales efforts.
Internal alignment is critical to developing a brand that all your employees and internal stakeholders can rally around.
The mission and vision for your company are foundational in describing “why” you exist. These statements should capture the passion of everyone in your organization. They should account for the current state and the future. The key elements that your mission and vision statements should address:
Your brand promise is “what” your company promises to deliver. It describes the value of what you offer to the market. This can be framed around quality of products, customer support, legacy of expertise and success in the market, and many other attributes. But don’t try to account for everything; no company can do that. What are the non-negotiables? What will everyone in your company stand behind? You can define your brand promise around:
Your core values are the “how” your company will fulfill its brand promise. Collectively, these values are what make your company uniquely qualified to deliver your promise. This could be a detail, such as committing to respond to customers within a specific time frame. A promise can also be part of the big picture, such as continuing to invest in research and development. Your core values are likely to revolve around:
Brand messaging begins with discovering and documenting: who your customers are, what they want to accomplish, what their challenges and pain points are, and how you help them.
Your target customer personas represent the decision makers who ultimately decide whether or not to partner with your company. This can be challenging as there often are many influencers in the complicated and often elongated industrial buying journey. Your customer personas often come from these functional areas:
Why should your customers choose your brand over the competition? This is you making a case why they should work with you. A value proposition explains how you will help a target persona, and how that service benefits them in their position and the company overall. So while you can offer different value propositions for each persona, all value propositions should have this in common:
Your value pillars can be specified to each customer persona but should always ladder up to your overall brand promise. While you offer the same products and services to everyone, what is important to an engineer is far different from what is important to a CFO. Your value pillars should:
Developing an effective brand strategy requires that you understand untapped market opportunities, how your competitors go to market, and what you offer that your competitors do not.
Market research can unearth key market metrics that you might not be aware of, especially in emerging or disrupted ecosystems. This is not your standard scouting of the known players in your sector but investing in how you can expand your network of prospects and clients. The benefits of investing in market opportunities include:
Competitive research is the in-depth discovery work to identify differences between your products and services and those of your competitors and also how they message and go to market. Where are the value gaps that your competitors are not filling for your customer personas? How you address those gaps compared to competitors defines your competitor landscape. Questions to ask:
You should be aware of what makes your competitors unique in your industry. Look at their brand messaging to see how their values compare to your brand’s value pillars. The more you know about your competition, the more nuanced you can be in your marketing and sales strategies and tactics. Differentiating your brand requires learning where your brand is outperforming the competition and where you fall short. The sweet spot you seek is at the intersection of:
Uncovering your brand’s sweet spot is where you should focus your communications when you speak to your customers at different stages in the marketing/sales funnel.
The right partner can help you create and execute a brand strategy that successfully positions your company as the brand of choice — even in the most competitive industrial environments.
Identify your brand’s purpose, who it needs to reach, and how to talk about it with your personas
Find marketers well-versed in brand strategy as part of a comprehensive marketing and sales approach.
Identify partners to support your brand strategy efforts and reach out to assess compatibility.
At INDUSTRIAL, we’ve worked with hundreds of industrial leaders and marketing teams to create and execute brand strategies that outshine the competition with brand positioning that connects with B2B customers’ needs and emotions. Contact us today to learn how we can help you align your teams around an effective industrial brand strategy.