Often times in the manufacturing industry, companies end up “settling” for a weak brand.
A weak brand is one that fails to adequately distinguish or differentiate itself from competing brands in meaningful ways. Weak brands = weak sales. And that’s a problem.
While the process of developing or rehabilitating a brand is rather straightforward, roadblocks can pop up along the way that companies will need to overcome to succeed.
I will address them one by one. Some of them may actually surprise you.
- Confusion over what brand development is. Brand development is the process of identifying the distinctions your company owns that make a positive and noteworthy difference in the lives of your customers and channel partners. Yes, it’s that simple.
- Not knowing how or where to start. Begin by placing yourself in the shoes of your customers and ask yourself why specifically they should buy from you instead of from your competition. You do have competitors and you are losing business to them – it’s up to you to understand why. You can’t develop or improve your brand unless you ask yourself and your team this burning, painful question and following up with compelling answers.
- Ego. In the early stages of a brand development initiative, it will be crucial to gain insights into how your brand is perceived by employees, customers, and channel partners through a brand assessment. You’ll need to know where your brand stands in their hearts and minds so that you have knowledge into how it could be better and stronger. Makes sense, right? BUT…some CEOs do NOT want to do an assessment because deep down, they’re afraid of what people might say about them personally, or about their company. Those who have this fear dodge this issue by claiming they already know what their employees and customers think and doing any sort of assessment would be a waste of time and money.
- The presence of a dysfunctional culture at the top. Unfortunately, this is somewhat common and often times the most difficult or even impossible roadblock to overcome. If you have a crappy culture of petty politics, conflicts of values, and poor leadership at the top, what kind of culture do you think the rest of the organization has? Culture is the social construct of an organization, and if that social construct is dysfunctional, the integrity of your your brand is at risk. Sometimes the only remedy is a new president or CEO who will come in and clean house.
- Internal resistance. When going through the process of rebuilding or rehabilitating your brand, invite others representing different roles at your company to participate (e.g., service, operations, HR, engineering, marketing, sales, plant manager, etc.). Hopefully you hired smart people (at least I hope), so tap into their thoughts, insights and intelligence. Even if some don’t end up completely agreeing with the brand you decide to move forward with, they will have appreciated the opportunity to contribute and will thus be more accepting and supportive.
- Fear of change. Many people inherently fear change. Change causes stress, produces unique problems, and requires additional work. Fearing change can easily lead to resisting it which will throw a wrench into your gears as you attempt to live up to your new brand. So, when introducing your new brand to your employees, you’ll need to be clear on how the changes benefit them, personally so that the fear turns into excitement because when launching a new brand, you’ll need everyone on your side.
So there you have it. If you overcome these roadblocks, you’ll be much more successful at building a brand that will help you grow your business.
Of course, if you would like assistance building or rehabilitating your brand, contact us.