"I bought that machine because I simply loved the logo."Ever heard that before? Expect to ever hear that? I didn't think so.
Let's get this out up front - brand is a powerful concept which can have a powerful impact on business. For companies in the B2B space that have broad brand recognition (e.g. Grainger, ITW and Safety-Kleen) certainly some portion of their leads and new revenue can be attributed to their brand.
But your company probably doesn't have that. So where should you focus - on trying to build brand awareness, or generating sales qualified leads?
I recommend that latter - without hesitation. Here's why.
Your company's essence
Your brand is really the distillation of what you do, your business philosophy and how you impact others. And the first barrier to branding is that many B2B manufacturing companies have never codified those elements into a brand which they have internalized. Indeed before a brand can be publicly effective it must first be embraced internally.
Assuming you've been through the important work of developing your brand, but it's not widely recognized, then traditionally you would need to convince the market one individual at a time. (A tremendously resource intensive undertaking!) Typically that involves a number of interactions, and many more declarations.
But if you're like nearly every SMB you have neither the time nor money to tell folks repeatedly how groovy you are. So what do you do?
Model itInstead of blathering on about how each glance at the corporate mirror reconfirms your company's awesomeness, rather use your digital marketing to reach new folks and legitimately help them with your great content and thought leadership. Simultaneously you'll spread your message and demonstrate the essence of your brand...and instead of an useless "awareness" metric you'll have a lead too!
In today's world of spin and messaging you instinctively understand that the "chitter chatter" is meaningless. That's why you have a particular opportunity to move the needle with substantive business value - because it's relatively rare. The "pitter patter" of your content marketing will attract potential customers, establish your thought leadership and introduce them to your brand, convert them to leads and then help you nurture them into customers. Each interaction will establish and reinforce your brand as a byproduct - and as a result of their experience rather than your "say so."
Blocking & tackling
None of this is complicated - but none is easy. If you have a strong, recognized B2B industrial brand that's great. It's not going to translate to revenue directly, but rather it will give you an initial credibility boost. If you don't have a widely recognized brand, but have clearly defined the important elements of a brand internally, then work on building your business and brand will follow. But if you don't have a clear understanding of your company's brand, then don't waste time or money on marketing because your message is likely to be so diffuse as to be worthless.
Have a clearly defined brand and need help attracting the right prospects to introduce them to your brand and capability? Maybe we can help. Check out our approach to internet marketing for manufacturers.