Wednesday, 1 December 2010

It's not the brand in your life but the life in your brand - 10 ideas to extend the life of your brand.

I have just returned from running a Marketing programme at Radcliffe House, Warwick Conferences. This facility is a market development of the Warwick University Campus just across the road from the world renowned Warwick Business School.

Working with talented marketers from the lighting, electronic power and high value medical equipment industries we worked on a number of challenges the delegates were currently meeting.

One of the problems we tackled was a challenge submitted by a talented Business Development Manager whose issue was this:-
“What is the best way to re-energise our Company Brand and image and prepare the team and customers for the new generation of products from across the pond (USA)?”

She added “This must work in harmony to ensure minimal cannibalisation of existing lines with a clear strategy on how to position the brand.”
Stretching the growth and maturation stages of the product life cycle is a good trick is you can pull it of it.
To misquote the American Film actress,Mae West , who knew a thing or two about what is now known as personal branding " It's not the brand in your life but the life in your brand!"

Here are 10 ideas to extend the life of your brand.

1. Engage with your clients in their specification process, to help ease their load and, at the same time, create specifications that provide your solutions an edge. You can even charge for these services for some clients, and perhaps credit back the cost should they select your solution.

2. Offer thorough supporting information on your quotes, leveraging your marketing communications material where possible to reinforce your value proposition and overall corporate message.

3. When you receive the order from your client, send an acknowledgement with thanks, should the project involve engineering time or project management, keep in contact with steady communication with them on its progress.

4. Present a branded token of your appreciation after completion of a successful project, something of nominal value but meaningful (and creative, if possible).

5.Stihl GB the leading power tool business for forestry and horticulture have branded fleeces, jackets, overalls and safety hats are a common sight worn outside by staff, dealers and customers on building sites, parks and at country shows.
Make sure your representatives on exhibition stands wear clothing that present an image of visible and quality company attire.
6. Invite your customers to meet with you at trade shows, and employ other minimally intrusive ways to keep your brand in front of them on a timely basis.

7. Offer to create and share a success story – often client companies need content for in house newsletters and magazines, and if you have provided them something that helps fulfil a corporate mission (like sustainability, continuous improvement, new protocols etc.) they will be happy to promote the success internally.

8.Offer complimentary periodic maintenance inspections of your installed equipment, perhaps in conjunction with other service visits you are making to the area to cut down on costs; this provides an opportunity to generate revenue through spare parts and accessories as well as identify other opportunities to provide solutions to the account.

9. Act as a trusted advisor and Offer to do a consultative review of the customer’s operations and where your solutions may help, along with an analysis of the payback and ROI on such solutions building credibility from providing a successful first solution).

10.And, perhaps the most common solution – develop a blog, newsletter, company magazine, or other method of communicating more regularly with your clients even when they are not in the buying cycle, so that you are front-of-mind when they are.
Have you implemented or observed other practices for extending a brand presence at industrial accounts? Please leave a comment.

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