When we think of the word ‘branding’ what comes to mind by association is consumer products. Food items, electronics, clothing etc. These products have higher visibility and wider usage. They definitely take up more of the family mind space. Mass media is dominated by consumer advertising. However, branding is equally essential for industrial products. If you stop and think for a moment, some of the most powerful brands are industrial or Business to Business (B2B) brands – Tata Steel, Infosys, Siemens, to name a few.
POSITION YOURSELF AS A THOUGHT LEADER
Positioning your company as a thought leader is critical in an environment of complex technical sales that have long buying cycles with many decision-makers involved. The company’s presence on blogs and key forums creates content for brand and domain leadership. Another way to achieve an expert status is to have papers and articles published in trade journals and to speak on relevant topics at trade meets and symposiums. Industrial companies use intelligence providers such as white papers, case studies, application notes, and datasheets to provide relevant content to purchasing engineers who must specify their products first before a sale can happen.
EMPHASIS ON SERVICE
Industrial buyers are thought to be more rationally concerned with determinants like product performance, product pricing, etc. Service is one of the most distinguishing factors for industrial products. ‘Sales service’ is at the point of sale to help the customer to make an informed decision. After-sales service – the follow-up service could be the deciding factor for the next sale. Service is also the perfect base to build branding for an industrial product that is not otherwise distinguishable by way of its product attributes. For instance, it was a branding boost for Schneider Electric India when it was declared the winner in the “Best Loyalty Program in B2B Sector” category under the 6th Loyalty Awards, 2013.
CORPORATE IMAGE BUILDING
Accenture sells nothing off the shelf. But its “Performance Delivered” campaign, which had the strong advertising presence of Tiger Woods, created a positive awareness of the brand. The ads were aired at prime time slots and on sports and news channels. It created awareness of Accenture among hundreds of thousands of people who just may be working for the enterprises to which Accenture consults quality, delivery, service and price, then the end consumers. In the Indian context, we had the famous Tata Steel ad which ended with “We also make Steel”. Have a look at it to see industrial image building at its best.