How to Successfully Position Your Industrial Brand
When you have a cold, do you ask for a Kleenex or a tissue? When you have a cut, do you want a bandage or a Band-Aid?
These brands have so successfully positioned themselves, their branded product names are now synonymous with industry-wide commodities. This positioning is a combination of brand awareness and brand image. The result? How your brand is perceived - or positioned - in the minds of your ideal customers.
You can leverage this position to stake your claim in the market. With solid positioning, you can leverage your reputation to your advantage, differentiate yourself from your competitors, increase brand awareness, and communicate value.
This is especially important in business-to-business (B2B) marketing. B2B transactions are more complex than business-to-consumer (B2C) transactions and often require multiple levels of approval. Due to the more in-depth process, B2B decision makers often prefer a lasting relationship with their vendors. There are often high switching costs, so decision makers are not always looking to switch unless there are compelling reasons.
There are a number of ways to make your brand appealing to decision makers, but one of the best ways is strategically positioning your brand. This won’t happen overnight, but strategically aligning your brand can draw in those decision makers who are wary of switching vendors.
Brand Positioning Strategies
To start positioning your brand successfully, you will need to develop a strategy. The best way to do this is by focusing on what makes your business remarkable, but we’ll get into that in a bit.
There are a few standard positioning strategies that are popular because they solve really common problems. These strategies revolve around customer service and support, price, convenience, quality, and differentiation. As a bonus, we like to see a performance strategy in the B2B world.
These are not the only strategies to exist. You can customize your brand positioning strategy, so long as it is true to your business. It will only be effective, though, if it directly relates to your ideal client’s problems that your business solves.
That being said, understanding these strategies is a good gateway to creating a brand strategy that’s ideal for your organization.
Customer Service & Support
The key to this strategy is simple: you provide phenomenal service. This strategy is most effective in industries where competitors are notoriously bad at customer service. It is also appropriate in very complex industries where service and support are necessary for an optimal experience with the products.
Are you a low-cost player? This might be the strategy for you. Typically, price based strategies mean pricing lower than competitors and being known as the cost-effective option.
There are brands that have successfully positioned themselves using this strategy, but there are drawbacks. First and foremost, you have to be okay with being the “cheap” option. This can make it difficult to expand into more expensive markets or introduce new quality products. Your audience will expect you to supply affordable products over high quality ones.
Additionally, your strategy will be subject to the economy. As the price of raw materials increases, will your low prices be sustainable? You also leave yourself open to other organizations operating at scale being able to undercut you. While this is always a possibility, when your position is entirely qualitative, it is easier to undermine.
This strategy indicates your brand is the one that is easy to do business with. In the B2B world, where purchase decisions are often long and complex, this is incredibly important. You can use your systems and processes to demonstrate how simple it is to do business with your company and use your product.
This strategy is relatively straightforward: your product is the high quality alternative to your competitors. This is often the opposite of a price-based strategy, as high quality usually comes at premium prices.
It is important to recognize that this strategy might price many buyers out and those who do invest will expect quality. If your products cannot live up to your claims, then you should not go this route. But if you are looking for rich, selective relationships with your ideal clients that fit the budgetary needs of your pricing, then this could be the way to go.
This strategy only works if there is something about your brand or offer that is unique or innovative. It is a great way to attract ideal clients who are focused on innovation and pioneering technology.
Additionally, if your product solves a problem that other products don’t solve but is commonly faced in your industry, you can, of course, leverage this aspect.
Lastly, here at Strativise, we like to look at the potential to develop a performance-based positioning strategy. Using this strategy, we demonstrate the performance improvements that a product or service will generate for the user. This can be Return On Investment (ROI) for a marketing organization or equipment productivity at a manufacturing organization. Regardless of the context, we like to look at how you can impact your customers’ performance and position your brand on that basis.
Creating Your Industrial Brand Positioning Strategy
Attracting the right clients for your business matters. If you are serving non-ideal clients, a few things will happen. First, you and your team will end up exhausted. If you are trying to help people that your offer or product is not a good fit for, your team will constantly be needing to make amendments, work through problems that shouldn’t be happening, and manage unmet client expectations. Which leads to the next problem: bad reviews. Non-ideal clients do not have their expectations met and leave bad reviews.
At some point, you will inevitably do business with people who are not your ideal clients. This happens. But positioning your brand to effectively communicate your message and attract your ideal clients goes a long way towards sifting out non-ideal fits.
That’s why the first step to crafting your industrial brand positioning strategy is identifying your ideal client. Once you identify your ideal client and develop a persona for them, you can line out their priorities. What are they trying to achieve? What are their pain points? What are their jobs?
Next, you can figure out exactly how your brand appeals to those priorities. If your brand does not solve their pain points or have any unique differentiators that make you uniquely appropriate to serve those clients, you might need to return to the drawing board. Either you need different ideal clients or you need to develop a different offer.
Once you know your ideal client and how you connect with them, look to your competitors. How are your competitors meeting client needs? How are they positioning themselves? What are their marketing strategies?
Now, take a look at your ideal clients and how you meet their needs. Develop your unique value proposition that shows how you appeal to your target market and sets you apart from competitors.
From there, you can line out your positioning framework and messaging. This should help you identify the best ways to reach your ideal client, which finally brings us to our creative team’s favorite part: content creation.
Using this wealth of information about what your ideal client wants and what you do to meet those needs, create strategic content!
This is a brief summary of an in-depth process that involves cross department communication and collaboration. But it truly is a powerful experience that aligns your business and marketing efforts - and you do not have to do it alone.
We are experts at helping small to midsize industrial companies develop stellar messaging that sets them apart from their competitors. We help them transform their traditional marketing into repeatable, scalable digital marketing practices designed to attract their ideal clients through pertinent messaging and strategic positioning.
In other words: we want you to be the Band-Aid of your industry.
Learn more about how Strativise helps at our Engagements page.