That’s the topic we’ve caught in the Made in Britain Twitter net: 15 July 2021
EVERY Thursday at 1pm Made in Britain hosts #MadeinBritainHour on Twitter. During that hour Made in Britain asks questions of its 21,000 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 but most have been left in their casual Twitter style.
This week we discuss brand development and marketing.
Question one: When developing a brand how/when do you decide whether to build it around the company or around products?
Response: We always base it round the company first as it helps to create awareness for future products and also raise your profile and improve overall positioning in the market. It people have heard of you there is a comfort that bring to possible engagement.
Made in Britain: Does that work best when all your product lines are in the same area/sector? what about if they were very different?
Response: It shouldn’t matter if they are all in different sectors. It shows the diversity and stringy of your business. In the same way McDonalds use brand names like Big Mac but always under the McDonalds branding
Made in Britain: What if the business owned different "products/offerings" - maybe they want to stay away from the McDonald's branding. Coca Cola is an example of a business who owns multiple brands for example
Response: It depends”. Is it a one product company – Coke? Is it a multi-faceted company – Unilever. Is it a new product and concept – Hive. Each will require a different approach and timing
Made in Britain: That's part of why we asked "when" - many companies start off as a one product company and then extend their offering? does that make a difference?
Response: At the beginning is the best time. You can Rebrand when the product range diversifies into new sectors or create a new brand built on the first. The main point is to establish the brand at the beginning. Virgin as an example.
Made in Britain: Is there a risk here though? an all your eggs in one basket type risk. One business can get bad press and it tarnishes the entire brand?
Response: Hence the requirement to establish a brand and secure it with a brand book to keep everyone in the company on track
Made in Britain: There are some things you can't control though, look at airlines e.g. the Germanwings 'crash' - that brand soon disappeared but ultimately had limited reputational impact on its parent company LH
Response: The case for different branding to meet the perceptions of the customer of that product or service.
Response: It depends on the product range you plan to market, and whether your company is part of a larger structure or not. We would typically look at the brand infrastructure and advice based on the business strategy
Made in Britain: What about the smaller businesses, and start-ups. They may start with a single product?
Response: Yes and in that case it may be easier to build a brand around the company and then grow the product range.
Made in Britain: Does that then mean that the company name (or T/A) needs careful thought from the outset?
Response: It certainly does. We are working with a manufacturing company at the moment, carrying out a brand identity and positioning, looking at competition &the strength of brands in that space. Even though there is only one product, we are branding the product and not the company
Made in Britain: That's interesting. What was the reason for choosing to brand the product? consumer product?
Response: Yes it is a consumer product and in that particular space, the product range will carry more weight than the company which will be an umbrella brand, underwriting the product range development....similar to a lot of tech products
Response: From a design perspective the more you factor in, the better the outcome (usually). For me it's about the company (as a whole) they are the 'brand', products can change (dramatically) over the life of a company & you could diversify. Brand shouldn't be limited by products IMO.
Made in Britain: shouldn't be limited to but branding of products is as important?
Response: Certainly. Company & product branding need to sit hand in hand. A strong company brand can help poorer branded products and vice versa. I would always say company first BUT with a view to products & future plans...
Response: Doesn't it depend on the business? Our brand is very much built around our business, and our logo inspired by our location in #Devon. But if the business is a product and not a service then maybe building around the product would be the right approach?
Made in Britain: and different products can be branded differently to attract different customer segments?
Response: Yes, this works really well if there are underlying company brand guidelines but these are tweaked to suit the product and audience. I'm thinking of @thatchers_cider (because on this beautiful hot day, I would love a cold one right now)
Made in Britain: Sometimes two completely different brands are needed even if the products are similar but appealing to a totally different market.
Response: It will depend on planned growth. If the product range increases & they are different enough to warrant their own brands & sub-brands, then they should be created as sub-brands in their own rights. Services are different as in this case, the customer is buying your reputation.
Response: Prior to the creation of Radical Materials, we operated solely as SteriTouch. The introduction of Radical came as a result of our expanding product range and capabilities. Now each of our brands has its own image and feel, whilst ultimately remaining a part of the brand family.
Made in Britain: That's interesting to hear. Do you spend most time with the product brands/branding or with the company branding?
Response: The majority of time is spent working with the individual brands themselves. Radical is treated as the parent and more corporate facing brand, whereas @SteriTouch, @SteriType, @KonductThermal and @ScopicDetect all have their own identities and branding features.
Made in Britain: Is there a thread between them that makes it obvious they are all Radical Materials products?
Response: Each brand utilises a similar tone, voice and messaging throughout its marketing collateral which aligns with the way we want Radical to be perceived. The numerous references there are to the brands being part of Radical is often seen in our articles, PR and websites also
Response: The brand in its entirety should be about the overall experience that a customer has with the company including its products and services
Response: Developing a brand depends on what you sell. A service can be one item but products could be one or could be many, so needs a good thought process
Response: I think it depends to some extent on the strength of the "story" that the company has - ie does it have a very specific vision or reason for being. Branding the company accordingly would help to get that across.
Question two: How do you effectively test branding ideas/concepts and at what point should companies invest in developing a brand?
Response: Cannot stress the importance of a well-developed brand that has been properly researched, checked for copyright - and not just domain availability. it should start as soon as the concepts are agreed on
Made in Britain: what are your thoughts on how well start-up manufacturing companies do this? they're more interested in making not branding?
Response: Most start-ups will be focused on getting the product to market and I am not expecting them to be experts at everything...and that is where they should invest in brand experts...it is worth that initial investment if they plan to establish a presence.
Made in Britain: Here is a BIG question - how many start-ups fail because they don't brand effectively (or at all)?
Response: They may find they have a legacy brand that does not fit their expected positioning. It has been proven that brand identity has equity...why miss out on it?
Response: Small businesses are often put off by the perceived costs of creating and building a brand especially as most of their money is spent developing their products. We find this with our start up clients. Sadly, the marketing budget is usually the first to go when money is tight
Response: The involvement of a facilitator or consultant at the beginning will reduce the cost of establishing the brand with an agency later on. Independent and freelance people are worth their weight for the extra skills they bring
Made in Britain: Shouldn't it be the other way round?
Response: It should be, yes but you might be surprised by how often we as a company have seen this happen
Made in Britain: With the assumption "the product will sell itself"....errrrr....
Response: I agree. Painful. Then we try to fix it....
Response: Yes freelancers are a good option because they offer a flexible service. Also, making use of 1-2-1s & business support funding through the Government can be helpful too.
Response: Online is a great way of testing traction. Paid for adverts or being able to introduce them face to face a trade fairs or exhibitions.
Made in Britain: Is that brand development or brand refining?
Response: It can be both depending on where the product launch is at that time.
Response: Developing a brand should be done from as soon as you are ready having looked into your market, done the research, checked copyright etc as @MarketAccents just said. This all can be done a lot quicker nowadays with social media and online
Made in Britain: Do you think businesses spend enough time at the outset doing that? We see a lot of businesses where there is a confusion between company name, trading name and product name
Response: Ouch. that is where they definitely need some help with their brand architecture
Response: I see this a lot too and I think it has a big impact. I always think the name is super important as a lot of things hang off it, so it's worth spending the time to get this right - although it's definitely not easy.
Made in Britain: Some companies do "rush to register" without thinking through the long-term consequences. Even the basic of basics like domain name availability is often overlooked.
Response: Yes - and how easy it is to spell is often overlooked too. I have come across a few instances just recently where someone has had to spell out the domain for me because it wasn't obvious. That's not ideal.
Response: Thats a big no, spelling is very important
Response: Companies who think they have nailed it with an alternative spelling of a common word - some of them are awful and will just drive traffic to the correctly spelled version?
Response: Yes exactly. And somewhere down the line you may have to spend a small fortune to buy the domain name for the correctly spelled word to redirect it to your incorrectly spelled word....
Made in Britain: and as you've become more successful the person owning the proper domain name starts to want more money
Response: I am surprised if they manage to get trade mark on it, if there is an existing company with that brand name registered it will not be easy sailing - or wallet-friendly!!
Response: Could be international, or equally someone prospectively bought a domain name and is trying to sell it on
Response: It will still affect your brand. We see a lot of sitting on brand names by companies from China and India. They see what is being patented or searches for domain names, and immediately start trademark registrations or buying domain names. Tough and nasty business practices
Response: A lot of that goes on. These foreign companies trying to cash in on domain names
Made in Britain: Is this where you start to consider whether to go it alone or look for proper backing and support?
Response: Businesses don’t really spend enough time in the beginning, but nowadays things have changed a bit. New businesses set-up seem to try and get their name, website, social media all branded the same. You stand a better chance by getting everything correct from the very beginning
Made in Britain: Getting it consistent is one thing, appealing to the market is another. Just because the owner likes frogs doesn't mean the frog is the right logo/image etc for the brand.
Response: I have looked at many business plans over the years. They are predominantly focused on the P&L. Few had comprehensive sections on branding, marketing, promotion and selling.
Response: This never ceases to amaze me when I see it. Speaking as someone with a P&L bias, the numbers are pretty meaningless if they are not tied to real actions behind them - the kind of things that are made up of those other plans you mention
Response: Many of the business plans I have seen are there to satisfy the bank and Gov funding agencies. Written to leverage the grant/loan/financing.
Made in Britain: For business plan read financial projections in many cases?
Response: Yes - and that's putting it generously. It's not much of a projection in my book if it isn't based on real plans and initiatives. A lot of plans I see are a finger in the air at best.
Response: Start as you intend to continue. Create a brand book. Include customer personas. Let everyone in the company be part of it so they are aware and engaged. Give it to your agency and don’t go off track. Customer testing - use an external to avoid bias
Response: Thats great advice Nigel
Response: If you use an external design source or time-served designers they will bring/use a wealth of experience to provide the best poss. solution to your branding & you're usually well on the way to something 'effective'. Target groups made of potential clients work well 4 input.
Response: We tend to agree with many of the ideas already presented here. Researching, understanding and laying out a plan on how you expect to deliver your brand to your targeted audience is critical. Not being afraid to suffer setbacks and failures is also important.
Response: Another thing we see is companies spending way too long tinkering without going out to potential customers, focus groups etc. There is a fine line.
Response: Test both internally and externally and with your current audience and a new audience to reach people you've never connected with to see how they respond to your brand.
Question three: Is it better to develop customer-centric marketing or product/company-centric marketing? Is the choice dependent on sector?
Response: There is not a choice...it must be a customer-centric marketing approach. You have no business if you don't focus on your target market and customers. Your product/company exists to satisfy their requirements.
Response: Completely agree
Response: Surprising how many companies don't do it though?
Response: We tend to take a product/company-centric approach to our marketing, mostly because all of our brands operate B2B. We instantly want our brands to be recognised for what they do and the products that they deliver.
Response: That would still be a customer approach. If you only focus on your product or company, who would you be aiming at, and what sort of positioning are you filling? you are competing in a marketplace where everyone is trying to get to the same target market.
Response: Thanks for the insight! Take our brand SteriTouch for example, we find it difficult to specify a target market. As we have clients from various industries that utilise our products in a multitude of ways. We try to use PR, case studies, tradeshows, etc. to generate awareness.
Response: Customer Centric. They are the people who will buy your products and make your company grow. If you do not understand customers your business will fail. Watch this Steve Jobs – https://youtu.be/oeqPrUmVz-o .
Response: First there was product centric marketing then came customer-centric marketing and now they are coming together to create more customer experiences.
Response: Delivering quality Customer Experience is the success factor for business in 2021 and beyond
Made in Britain: Does it depend on what a company offers?
Response: It definitely helps with products where it is easier to create an emotional connection i.e pet food however a lot of companies like VW and their night vision ad. It's harder to create that connection with air bricks and dry verge!
Made in Britain: Some people do get excited by air bricks though, but usually only during working hours which says quite a lot about different types of marketing and branding?
Response: A customer-centric approach is preferable. You need to identify the needs and wants of the customer be it a business or a person. You then tailor your marketing activities to fulfil these needs
Made in Britain: Is it easier in B2C than B2B?
Response: I would say so, yes! Buyer personas (as part of the process) for example, are much easier to semi-fictionalise for people than they are businesses
Made in Britain: And probably even harder for a contract manufacturer than a single product manufacturer?
Response: It would actually make a great webinar / lesson on the topic of buyer personas and other marketing activities in a B2B environment!
Response: It needs to be customer-centric as thats who's buying your product/service and therefore paying your bills. It can be interspersed with product/company centric but as a backup to customer-centric.
Made in Britain: Same for B2C as B2B? Is there an argument for some company centricity to build for a safe-pair-of-hands in the B2B market?
Response: Depending on the sector you can market your products or services
Question four: How does a company determine whether they need an external branding agency to work with them? How do you select one?
Response: Sometimes it is worth just having a chat with a brand professional, and then decide if they need to work with an external branding agency at that time, or in the future.
Response: Plot a skills matrix of your staff. If there is no-one with branding or marketing skills bring in an external. There are many facilitators’, consultants, and trainers who can build your internal teams on a monthly contract. Selecting a service provider look at their LinkedIn profile. How many recommendations do they have? What sectors have they worked in. have a conversation and build a relationship
Response: Agencies are useful in NEW brand development because they offer a lot of support & services inc. research competitors, focus groups etc. A lot of it depends on the scale of the project really. It's best to contact 3 or 4 and select whichever you believe will do the best job
Made in Britain: How do you choose between a specialist brand agency and a general marketing agency?
Response: Spend some time researching them first. Looking at their client list, testimonials, people. Asking for references from other clients they have worked with. You can tell a lot from websites to make an initial selection and then it's a case of meeting them
Response: It depends on what market that are targeting and whether they are already established is that market. If not then an external brand / PR company can add great value to the supply chain
Made in Britain: Is that where things start to blur? Do we need a brand agency, a PR company, a marketing agency? or are they the same thing?
Response: they all do different things. A brand agency is at the start of the marketing journey, pr will be part of that branding and positioning, also part of the marketing once the brand has been agreed on.
Made in Britain: So do you go for an agency that covers all bases or specialists?
Response: If you can't do it yourself then you need someone with the skill set who can. Selecting a good one can be based on word of mouth, testimonials & case studies. Also selecting someone who can perform within your time scale and deliver on time without delays.
Response: An agency that has done similar business branding would be a start and ask how you can see the monetary benefits of what they do for you.
Made in Britain: A proven track record in a similar sector/business is essential.
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