The UK has a rich and varied manufacturing history, glittered with innovation. But – as is often the case for many organisations with a deep-rooted heritage – the need for change can be difficult to recognise, let alone embrace.
The reality is, while decades – and often centuries – of experience provide ample opportunities for organisations to further develop and perfect their craft, this doesn’t mean their brand identities stand the test of time too. Because engineering capabilities aren’t the only thing to change – customer needs, expectations, and behaviours evolve too.
The procurement landscape.
As with many other verticals, the abundance of information available at customers’ fingertips means purchasing habits are rapidly changing. And with the logistical convenience of online buying only set to become more streamlined, there’s no sign of this trend reversing.
As a result, procurement teams now conduct in-depth research before settling on the acquisition of industrial products. Opinions and perceived impressions of a manufacturer can therefore count more than the actual quality of the products and services themselves, in many cases – at least when customers are initially scoping out the right fit.
With disruptor brands constantly rising to prominence, even the most established and technically gifted manufacturers must therefore realise that industry experience isn’t always the be-all and end-all in the eyes of today’s consumer. That’s why becoming responsive, rather than reluctant, to brand development, is more important than ever.
To remain relevant and grow, everything from a manufacturer’s tone of voice to the visual manifestation of their brand identity must evolve in parallel with other levels of innovation delivered throughout their business. Not only will this help to reposition the organisation in the eyes of those all-important customers, it can help to facilitate an internal mindset shift for colleagues too.
And every detail matters.
It can be easy, for example, when so deeply embedded in an organisation, to forget that not everyone understands the same nuances that you do. And with the ongoing battle of one-upmanship, manufacturers can often become too intertwined in what a competitor’s product has to offer in terms of features, rather than focusing on bespoke solutions that fulfil a specific need.
But that doesn’t mean a brand narrative should become overwhelmed with jargon which neglects to emphasise how a product will benefit the user. The customer should still lie at the heart of the solution after all.
However, by enlisting the help of a brand expert and gaining a fresh perspective, key USPs can be brought to the forefront of the agenda once again – helping to deliver significant competitive advantage in the marketplace.
In the case of our own manufacturing brand, putting our alchemy at the heart of it – and allowing our ‘technical partner’ personality to drive the tone of voice – provided the business with a company narrative, digital platform, and brand architecture to tie everything together for staff and stakeholders alike.
Not only did the support of The Engine Room help to regain internal clarity, it also strengthened our commercial acumen and strategic performance – which go hand-in-hand to enable talent acquisition, customer engagement, and growth.
It’s important to remember that a revised brand identity is not an endpoint, but a process – and it’s up to manufacturers to keep being receptive and responsive to change, to keep this momentum moving.