Company identity and branding is caught in the Made in Britain Twitter net: 26 November 2020

EVERY Thursday at 1pm Made in Britain hosts #madeinbritainhour on Twitter. During that hour Made in Britain asks questions of its 19,500 followers and the results are fascinating. Previously this information was enjoyed by the audience at the time and then left to drift away in the Twittersphere, rarely read again. So, we have decided to capture some of the best comments and re-present them for a new audience and easy reference. Some of the responses have been edited.

This week we look at company identity and branding.

Question one: Does a manufacturing company need a mission statement? What are the benefits of one? Do you have one?

Response: A mission statement gives an immediate overview of the organisation outlining who you are, what you do and your values. We are working on one but very difficult to be succinct and distil the essence and get everyone in the business to agree

Response: I think it's a really difficult thing to do - especially keeping it succinct but clear. It often means different things to different people, so making sure it comes across is very hard I find.

Made in Britain: Is that because people have differing opinions or differing opinions of what mission statement actually is?

Response: Yes and everyone's opinion is valid but we just need to find crux and not have to publish volumes!

Made in Britain: There has been research to suggest that only about ten percent of mission statements say something meaningful. Suggestions of being unrealistic and too optimistic. What do you think?

Response: I think that is the danger with things like this - over time they all end up containing the same words and become a bit cliched. It's hard to keep it fresh and meaningful, but I think it can be done with time and effort

Made in Britain: Does this mean that the mission statement should be regularly revisited? 

Response: It should be revisited periodically, but it is an expression of longer-term values and goals so it shouldn't be chopped and changed too often - only when there are major changes in direction.

Made in Britain: Every business should have a mission statement. How many businesses do you think actually have one?

Response: I'd be interested to know this

Response: Yes me too. I'm afraid to answer the question as it will no doubt be way off my expectation.

Made in Britain: Maybe it goes further. Having a mission statement is one thing, everybody buying into it is another part, and it being realistic is yet another aspect?

Response: Psychological marketing!

Response from Made in Britain member Excell Metal Spinning: As long as you are fulfilling your vision, your goals with action, then I would argue against that statement. However, it is understandable at the same time when a mission statement is blatantly unrealistic

Response: Some I have read do seem to have been written by David Brent and you have no idea what the organisation actually does.

Response: I think a lot of people feel like they can't change their mission statements once they are written, but don't be scared to change it! If you wrote a mission 5 years ago and you've gone through change and grown from that, your mission should reflect this change! 

Made in Britain: Does this raise the question about the term "mission"? Sometimes could changing it be a sign of success and equally could it be a sign of failure to achieve what you set out to do? 

Response: A mission statement should be the direction you want your business to go, and changing this over time doesn't represent failure or success, it represents growth! As long as values don't change along the way, your business can evolve and outgrow older missions

Response from Made in Britain member Excell Metal Spinning: A mission, in simplistic terms, is setting out to complete a specific task. If you have completed it, then it should change. A task however maybe something you strive to be, i.e. an authority on a particular field of manufacturing for example

Made in Britain: How often do you review your mission statement? how often do you change it?

Excell Metal Spinning: Our team will always review it each year as part of our audit. As industry evolves, social norms and other external factors change, and so should the business. Therefore, its mission statement should be updated to suit the times. There are some instances it doesn't need to change.

Response: It should be revisited periodically, but it is an expression of longer-term values and goals so it shouldn't be chopped and changed too often - only when there are major changes in direction.

Excell Metal Spinning: Yes, the purpose of which to communicate to your staff, customers and other stakeholders your organisation's purpose and direction! It also helps convey your vision and overall intentions as a manufacturer! 

Made in Britain: Does @ExcellMetalSpin have a mission statement?

Excell Metal Spinning: Our mission: To empower businesses and people with exceptional products and components and the power of effective supply management. We do this with Excellence in Quality, Excellence in Service." We also have our company history, folklore, and vision displayed alongside our mission on our Made in Britain directory page 

Response: I think it's important to have one as it helps to align everyone and tell the world what you are about. It has to be a genuine expression of a mission, though, rather than ticking a box.

Response: I think manufacturing companies should have a mission statement because it quickly and easily communicates purpose and direction to employees, stakeholders and customers.

Response from Made in Britain member Hardy UK: Could a business survive without one? Sure, but it's always beneficial to have that statement. Not only does it give some perspective to clientele but it also gives a sense of goal orientation to staff too.

Response: Any and every company needs a mission statement! And sets of primary goals/traits of your business. They are grounding principles that help drive your business’s development and make sure that you and your team are all operating on the same level.

Response: That is very well put. That is almost a mission statement for a mission statements - very clear.

Question two: Should a business incorporate a tagline in its logo/branding? When are taglines beneficial? Do you use/have one?

Response: Our tagline helps link the two sections of our business. Officially, we’re ‘Barkston Ltd, Home of The Plastic People’ — linking our B2B/trade side with the e-commerce B2C business

Response: I think taglines can be very beneficial as when they are done right they are memorable and set you apart. The best ones seem to find their way in to everyday life somehow.

Response from Made in Britain member Excell Metal Spinning: Taglines take out the guesswork and make a company's message clear. A company with a good tagline will be able to differentiate themselves from competitors with similar products/services. Ours is "Excellence in Quality, Excellence in Service"

Made in Britain: This relates to question four a bit later on. You've got what you do in the company name so the tagline has one purpose, others have a general company name so does that mean the tagline serves a different purpose? 

Excell Metal Spinning:  I suppose so, my marketing heroes are Starbucks and their tagline is "To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time." and they present a way of giving back to the community (how I interpret their message) creating a neighbourly community by bringing everyone together over a coffee! It’s a great tagline and serves as a great mission! Look how successful they have been

Response: We use a tagline in our branding and headers to remind customers that we what we can provide in a few simple words. We have always found that it is effective. Ours is "your one stop resource for liquid safety solutions"

Made in Britain: Should tagline relate to what you do (e.g. make/service) or generic terms like "quality" "expert" etc?

Response: I think that it needs to be related to what you do. Anyone can say "quality" etc

Response:  A good tagline should be able to communicate the USP of your business hence differentiating it from your competitors and adding value to your brand.

Made in Britain: Do you think this should relate to what service/product you actually provide?

Response: Yes because it summarises what you do and clarifies your value proposition.

Response: Yes. We are still working on ours. so for the time being its "We'll get you connected"

Made in Britain: Does the development of the tagline sit alongside the development of the mission statement?

Response: Yes very much so. One will help with the other

Made in Britain: How long has it taken to develop the mission statement so far?

Response: Well the plan was to start a rebrand this year, but with the coronavirus it’s been all hands to the pumps doing other things. Hopefully 2021 will be the year you see our new vision.

Response: Ours is "Let's create something great together". It focusses on the fact that we encourage collaborative working with our clients and we tailor our services to suit their specific needs. That's our USP

Response: I think taglines can be useful for branding when you want someone to remember you or want to know more about what you do. Ours is 'Experience the Difference', its short but packs a punch, gets you thinking and wanting to know more!

Made in Britain: That's interesting. Companies have more "freedom" with the tagline when the company name partially explains what they do.

Question three: How important is a company logo and do manufacturing businesses invest enough in company visual identity/branding?

Response from Made in Britain member Excell Metal Spinning: I would argue that the company logo is extremely important, and designs can be cleverly used to symbolise different meanings, i.e. The E & X together form an arrow symbolising "progression" or "moving forward" which both evoke an image of helping customers move forward with their projects, and also modernising metal spinning with advancements in modern technology. Tilt it anti-clockwise, and you will notice the arrow also forms a house. This symbolises in-house solutions which is what we provide to become an all-in-one manufacturing service.

Made in Britain: You raise an interesting point. Many company logos have meaning. However, the meaning is lost on a lot of people. Take Amazon and the A to Z arrow for example, simple idea, goes un-noticed to a lot of people. 

Response: Ahh, but once you see it, you will never forget it, I still see Fedex’s arrow within their logo!

Made in Britain: Exactly - and it makes a very good advertising campaign too.

Excell Metal Spinning: Again, I think alot of branding, logo design etc. comes down to psychology. Done right, marketing efforts really pay off

Made in Britain: Do many companies start out with a "cheap and cheerful" logo and then refine it as they grow and have the finances to do it properly? Is it more than graphic design, its market research, panels etc?

Excell Metal Spinning: With the benefit of hindsight, I think it comes down to more creativity than anything, some people have it, other don't. It certainly helps to have more minds on it at once during the creative process I think over time, new ideas pop up. FedEx's logo from 1973 for example certainly developed over time, and now it’s extremely effective in their branding efforts. So yeah, you could certainly argue that they do develop over time

Made in Britain: This is probably a discussion for another week but the "shape" of the logo and variants on the logo have become so much more important in getting them to work for social media.

Response: Oh yes definitely, especially with regards to marketing collateral such images and video

Response: Or the bear that appears in the Toblerone logo.... I heard about that on the radio only about 3 months ago. I've been eating Toblerone all my life (well I get it every Christmas as part of a childhood tradition) and I never knew it was there! 

Response: A logo is a point of recognition for customers and is the basis for the branding of the company. It's also often the 1st thing that a potential customer will notice & can convey that a business is professional, trustworthy, and provides quality goods or services

Made in Britain: The term "professional" is important here. The number of company logos (smaller companies) that appear to have come out of clipart paints an interesting picture of them

Response: The idea behind ours it is multiple connections as that's what we do (connect things) 

Response: A logo is very important for brand identity, it's usually the first thing a customer will see be it on the website, on collateral created or set as social media profile pictures!

Made in Britain: It is worth investing in logo development from the outset? 

Response: I would say so as a logo is what customers look for and how they recognise you from first glance! It's establishing your brand identity from the get-go!

Question four: Is there a benefit in a company name having some description of what it does (e.g. a service or a product type) or are general names better?

Response: It makes it easier for customers to find you if you have a material, process, product etc in your name. It will reassure them immediately that you’re the right business for their needs

Response from Made in Britain member Excell Metal Spinning: A good point I agree with, type in metal spinning in google search engine and our name appear top (under the ads, and wiki), and our name definitely helps alongside our SEO work we have been working on

Response: Our name has a similar effect on SEO ranking when you search for ‘plastic sheets’ or something similar

Response: We might have to look at changing ours then!

Response from Made in Britain member Excell Metal Spinning: It depends really, especially if you have already secured a foothold within your industry and are widely known under the APTechnology name. The one thing we worked hard on is our keywords and what we wanted to be an authority on in google search rankings, and developed content accordingly

Response: There is a benefit in having what you do within the name of the business for user experience, if a customer were to google fencing, then as 'CLD Fencing Systems' they are reassured that we are what they have searched for! This could also improve your web traffic as well, as bounce rates can be significantly reduced as users aren't clicking your site and leaving straight away because you weren't what they were looking for

Made in Britain: That is a good point. There is also the opposite effect for some other companies who have a name of a product/service in their company name and that isn't what they do. Companies named after people's surname often do that.

Response: Exactly, SEO is a major thing to think about when establishing brand identity as well, they have to work together and sometimes does your chosen name need to be changed slightly in order to complement SEO?

Response: I think this is a really interesting question because I think the name you choose can have a huge impact. It probably depends on the business. If you are in a crowded market, then having the product/service won't stand out or be memorable. If you are fairly niche, however, then having it in the name would probably be a good idea. Whatever you choose, I would say it needs to be memorable and easy to spell.

Made in Britain: That suggests a topic for another week when we start to think about "Trading Names".

Response: Ours allows us to gain an instant understanding amongst our audience of the what we do/provide and isn't 'time' restrictive it allows us to grow and develop.

Join Made in Britain on Twitter at 1pm every Thursday for #madeinbritainhour. We engage with everybody, members and non-members alike (some of whom become members as a result). Hopefully, see you there.

By Made in Britain 4 months ago | Made in Britain news

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