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You’d think that for manufacturers communicating authenticity through marketing efforts would come easily but in our experience this is not usually the case. Don’t get me wrong, authenticity clearly exists in their original thinking, their translation of that thinking into innovative designs, and the conversion of raw materials into useful physical objects. So why is it when it comes to marketing authenticity it is nowhere to be found?
The problem is that in most manufacturing organizations, management is wholly focused on the making of the “product”. So focused, in fact, that they fail to tell the stories about the “product”.
Stories that will enable prospects to begin to understand how the “product” will fit in and meet their needs.
You may think that listing facts on the website is enough. The problem there is that “just the facts” style of marketing communicates nothing to the audience about who you are and why it is worth it to them to risk leaving their current partner for you.
Your ability to represent and to convince those customers that they can trust you is directly connected to your ability to communicate proudly and unapologetically exactly who you are as an organization. What you believe. Why you do what you do. Who you are, why they should trust you and what they will gain from making the change.
The paradox is that while most companies (not just manufacturing) pay a lot of lip service to the need for market differentiation, the thought of being perceived as different from competitors scares the living daylights out of most of them.
Here’s the thing: If you haven’t connected with and embraced who you are as a company it doesn’t mean you’re not different! It just means you’re trying to be something you’re not and either confusing your customer, or that what you are communicating is so vanilla that you are making no impression on customers whatsoever. (Arguably, vanilla is worse).
In fact, our experience has shown that manufacturers authenticity is already in alignment with the nature of your business. You’re already creating things that don’t exist, which are grounded in all types of awesome core values (honest, original, pure, out of the box, edgy, conservative, expensive, inexpensive, utilitarian, desirable), etc.
The thinking behind what you make is what your clients and prospects want to know about you. It’s what they need to make the jump.
Bear in mind, authenticity is not about divulging trade secrets. It’s about communicating effectively to your audience beyond the product tolerances and warranties to what it’s like to buy from you, work with you and be successful with you.
Wonder where you are on the authenticity scale?
How did you do?
If you scored less than 40, you might want to recheck your playbook. Chances are you’re operating from a place of authenticity; you just need to make some adjustments to how you are communicating this to your audience. Today’s customers are savvy and, whether you’re ready or not, they expect this level of interaction.
The good news is that as manufacturers, keeping it real is in your DNA but it’s only half the battle. To win in today’s competitive environment, you’re going to need to share it, too.
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