Brand is everything. From an interaction with a salesperson to a walking tour of your facility and everything in between, these touchpoints—what you do and what you say—affect how your brand is perceived. Even though it sounds simple, there are many manufacturers who miss the mark when it comes to brand. Everyone should be on the same page when it comes to brand expectations. Each employee should act in a unified, collective way that reflects how special your company is within the industry. Anything less than this results in a company failing to “live their brand.”
Companies that live their brand have a distinct competitive advantage over those that don’t because they deliver value and authenticity as they work to outperform competitors. Equally as important, they also have a company culture that defines how the brand sets the company up for success across different areas of business.
As buyers participate in brand experiences each day, they take note of which experiences are good versus those that are bad. Good experiences, like exceptional customer service or helpful correspondence with a salesperson, occur when a company lives its brand. Conversely, companies that do a poor job living their brand mislead, confuse and ultimately lose opportunities to earn and retain customers. And over time, this will negatively affect market share.
Today, market share is earned by companies that live their brand and deliver authentic brand experiences.
When a company lives its brand, everyone from top to bottom knows what the company stands for (who, what, how and why) and acts on it every single day. Employees work in a space where leaders use their brand strategy and brand identity to inspire and shape culture. And as a result, everyone in the company is aligned, shares the brand’s values and behaviors and always delivers what the brand promises.
The resulting effect is a brand that looks, sounds and acts the way it is intended to—and doesn’t change from employee to employee.
To successfully live your brand in manufacturing, it’s especially important to hit the mark in these three areas:
While these examples might seem small, little improvements here and there add up to meaningful changes your customers and employees will see and feel.
Living your brand is an authentic way to share your differentiation in an industry where competitors easily enter the market. What makes you different—and how you share what separates you from the pack—will impact the brand experience your team delivers to prospects and customers. As we like to say, show them what you are made of, and the results will follow.
Living your brand makes it easier to create the long-lasting customer connections that you desire and keeps your company well-positioned to earn them.
- Rob Hawse
They look desperate, confused and inconsistent. They’re hard to connect with because their actions are uninspiring and inauthentic. The biggest difference, though, is a disconnected brand experience. With everyone in the company on different pages, the brand looks, sounds and acts in a reactionary way. The customer’s perception of you is very different than the way you want to be perceived.
If you don’t live your brand, your reputation and market share are two things at risk. If brand standards aren’t lived out and acted upon consistently, or you’re not controlling your own perception through brand experience, a customer’s definition of who you are won’t match how you designed the brand.
You must start with a strong brand foundation. But that’s only half of the equation.
You also need to inspire your employees to act out your core values in a consistent way to properly live your brand. And though there are countless ways to inspire, the trick is to keep it creative, simple and consistent. Here are a couple of ideas to get you started:
It’s most important for leadership to get it right first and then inspire everyone else to act. Leading by example will mold and shape the culture.
Regardless of where you are in your company’s hierarchy, knowing how you deliver your brand’s promise creates a sense of belonging. Leadership and employees alike can name your core values, give examples and be consistent in the ways they interact with customers. When you have that, the brand looks, sounds and acts the way it should. It attracts employees and customers who believe the same thing. When this happens, it’s easier to create the long-lasting connections that you desire and keeps your company well-positioned to earn them.
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