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How to Get a Competitive Edge in Manufacturing

The worst enemy of the manufacturing industry is commoditization. It’s crucial for a manufacturer to distinguish its brand from the competition, or price will become the only differentiator by default. On the other hand, when done successfully, a solid brand strategy will help manufacturers retain current customers, win new business and even provide an opportunity to charge higher prices.

Here are three proven ways to differentiate your manufacturing brand and gain a competitive edge.

nerdy man holding and kissing trophy

Focus on building the brand

It takes some investment up front, but the time and effort spent to build a strong brand strategy will produce a significant ROI in the long run. The process of building a successful brand should involve people from across the organization who can contribute insight on what makes your organization unique. It also requires input from the leadership team on the aspirational and long-term goals of the business.

Once those differentiators have been identified, distill the most salient messages into key points that are easy to remember and understand. Key messages should accurately describe who you are, what you do and how you’re different. Whether you strive to be known for innovation, reliability or speed to market, look for opportunities to back up each claim with proof points.

Tell your story

Simply publishing a list of reasons stating why you’re the best choice in manufacturing will not get the job done. Instead, your key messages will need to be presented to the marketplace in a more compelling way.

A storytelling approach is a great way to describe the quality in your process in a memorable and effective way. Salient points about your differentiators can be woven into a fabric of your story. Leverage examples that illustrate your unique position in the marketplace, and don’t forget to include the challenges faced by the customer that you, the hero of the story, helped overcome. And don’t forget, the moral of the story should be how you facilitated the customer’s success, not necessarily the product manufactured.

There’s more than one way to tell a story. In fact, research shows that people typically hear a marketing message seven times before they can accurately retain and repeat it. But in the history of marketing, there has never been more compelling options available to present your brand story in different ways. When used correctly, photography, animation, videos and infographics are all engaging tools that can be leveraged to illustrate your brand’s unique position in the marketplace.

Stay focused

The most iconic brands in the world are also the best stewards to their brands. Regardless of the department or daily responsibilities, this “brand-first” mentality keeps organizations focused and in sync. A critical factor to consider before every major decision should be, “Does this effort support our brand?” For example, if innovation and experience are your defining factors, budget to recruit and retain the talent needed to fulfill that brand promise needs to be prioritized during budget season. If your differentiation lies with your equipment, then an industry-leading preventative maintenance program should be given special time and attention. Ignoring or neglecting the engine that powers your brand story will result in disappointment and brand failure.

By identifying and protecting the value of your brand, manufacturers can become “The Choice” rather than “a choice.”

At id8, we can help you become “The Choice” in your industry. Contact us to schedule a free one-hour consultation to learn more about us and how we’ve helped other clients just like you.