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Marketing executives in every industry are sitting on top of well-crafted brands right now, brands with unique attributes, stories, and processes that are truly differentiating yet they don’t even realize it.
It’s not always their fault. Sometimes management is over focused on what the competition is doing and so marketing reacts by creating me-too marketing campaigns full of features and benefits that don’t do anything to communicate why a prospective customer should buy from them, or give current customers any compelling reason to remain a customer for life.
At Crafted, we aim to change that. In fact, the mission of this blog is to provide you with the information you need to start to discover, cultivate and celebrate your well-crafted brand. Not only because it will make telling people about your product or process easier, but also because of the potential positive impact we know it could have on your organization as a whole.
Let me show you, rather than tell you, with a story about our client, Okuma America.
Okuma is a world leader in CNC (computer numeric control) machine tools and machining process optimization. Okuma is very unique in the industry in that they build both the machine tool and the control. The synergy between the mechanical and electrical engineering results in machines that are more finely balanced than any other machine in the industry. This allows them to ask more of their iron, if you will.
Interestingly, part of Okuma’s manufacturing process includes the use of hand scraping, a little known and mostly lost art that creates thousands of subtle points of contact between two mating parts by disrupting its perfect finish.
You’d think that machine surfaces that are perfectly flat would glide across each other with immense precision. As it turns out, when you put lubrication between the two parts there’s actually no place for it to go. It all gets squeezed out. Without lubrication you have bare metal-to-metal contact, which eventually will lead to seizure of the parts.
The hand scraping process is functionally essential but it also adds an aesthetic element to each plate in the form of a beautiful pattern on its surface.
Handcrafting, however, is just one of many indicators of a well-crafted brand. There are many others. For instance, hand scraping is just one of a ton of things Okuma does that are completely unique in the marketplace.
The cumulative result of those things, for Okuma, has been the development of a nearly cult-like following. People who own Okumas are serious about machining, they say. Operators have been known to develop actual emotional attachments to the machines. And many manufacturing deals are sealed once they find out that Okuma is on the floor.
What’s important to realize here is that all the special things Okuma does existed long before they started to share these stories. By acknowledging what makes them well-crafted and sharing that openly, the company has raised its industry profile significantly and is reaping the accompanying benefits of not only of being seen but also as being seen as truly unique.
Take an afternoon and look at your brand with fresh eyes. A few ideas: Go sit in the lobby of your corporate office and pretend you’re a visitor. What’s your experience? How different is it from your competitors? Walk the plant floor. Are there special processes or unique attitudes? (Note: If you can’t see anything, it doesn’t necessarily mean there isn’t anything.)
If nothing else, consider this:
A better way to win now is to shift your focus from competing with other providers to needs of your prospects and customers.
Especially their need to celebrate your brand, to feel good about their decision to engage with it, and to have good reason to stay engaged with it for a good long time to come.
To achieve this, you may need to take some time to find out who your brand/organization really is and what it really means to your customers. Do it. You may be surprised at just how special you really are.
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