Good news, your small- or medium-sized manufacturing business is pulsing along. Sales are up from last year, you’ve got a knowledgeable team of professionals working to grow your offerings, and all in all, the economy is good.
If you’re smartly running your business, you know that continually building your brand visibility and customer loyalty takes more than just sitting back and letting them come to you. Most likely, your value proposition five years ago isn’t necessarily the same as what makes you special today. Truth is, stagnant brand messages and images lead to bored customers who will seek out more dynamic companies.
There are varying degrees of a brand refresh that will let customers and prospects know you’re still on your game and increase your chances of gaining or retaining them for new or repeat sales. From competitive positioning to refreshed logos and marketing materials, there’s a lot to consider when defining who you are.
Review Your Core Value Proposition and Messaging
You likely have mission, vision and values statements. Formal customer commitments? Elevator speech? Probably. All important elements, but are they current? Branding is not a “look at it once every 10 years” type of thing. Gather company executives, important sales team members and HR representatives and facilitate a brand essence workshop for a couple hours. Do some brainstorming. For insight, structure and creativity, consider bringing in an outside brand expert.
When reviewing your existing messages, look at how the business has evolved or grown, how your offerings have changed, as well as your customer approach. Are you happy with the tone, the word choice, the representation of WHO you are? Do you need more emphasis on customer service, value or social corporate responsibility? Change the foundational messaging elements accordingly to better resonate with your audiences. Then, be prepared to parlay those essence changes into your internal and external communications mediums.
Make Sure Your Logo, Website and Marketing Materials Are the Best They Can Be
Now that you have your messages down, it’s time to look at your visual elements. Do you need to modernize your logo with a new design or color scheme? How’s your website working for you? Should you re-do the design elements in your marketing materials to match your new messaging approach? If yes, then ensure the new identity system represents the values defined in your updated brand positioning. For many companies this is the most “fun” part of your re-brand effort because let’s face it, everyone loves pretty and interesting graphics. By aligning the visual storytelling with your positioning, you will create a consistent company image that is memorable and represents your evolved style.
Align Your Employees with Your Vision
Re-branding efforts don’t work in a vacuum, so as soon as your core communications team is happy with the final products, share, share, share with your employees. Explain your rationale for the new essence and logo, ask for feedback and encourage them to start “living” the new brand. Get them excited! Holiday parties and backyard barbeques are a great place for employees to become brand ambassadors, but they have to understand the new brand position and how to convey it to be successful.
By starting with these core brand refresh strategies, companies can amp up their brand personas and help strengthen customer engagement and loyalty.
Celtic recently ventured down this re-branding path with client ID Label, a leading manufacturer of custom, variable information bar code labels and asset tags, to help them redefine themselves during a period of growth and acquisition. Learn more about the company’s efforts to modernize its positioning and visual elements here.