How To Build A Brand Strategy For Manufacturing Brands From Scratch 🧑🏭🏭
Is your business in the manufacturing industry? 🏭
If so, you’re in the right place. 👍
Let’s start with a simple question: why do you actually need branding for your manufacturing business? 🤷♂️
The short answer is: creating a brand strategy for your manufacturing business helps maximise your profits, and positions your in-house brand to stand out from the crowd.
Today, the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers states it represents over 3,000 manufacturing companies of varying sizes in the country. (That’s A LOT of competition!)
So, to rise above these 3,000 competitors, you first need to understand the importance of branding. Branding is the first step to growing your business. 🎓
If you don’t, then you’ll find yourself running behind competitors who already understand and implement brand strategy for their products. Because these competitors can apply their branding knowledge, and make it easier for them to gain and retain customers in the long-term. 🏃♂️💨
Ready to learn more? Let’s dive into branding 101. 👇
How Does A Brand Strategy Help to Build Your Manufacturing Brand?
Let’s start off naming some famous brands who manufacture their own products.
Volkswagen Group, Bonia, Samsung, Kit Kat, Ogawa and Tealive.
These manufacturers are some of the BIG names out there. And when you see their names, you instantly know what they’re selling. 💡
It doesn’t matter whether you’ve used their products or not, what matters is; you know them. See what these brands did to you?
They have seared your mind with a branding iron. That’s how you’re able to recognise their names, it’s called brand recognition. 😮
Aside from that, branding also allows you to strategically position your brand in the market through brand storytelling.
This is a good thing, as you can show your customers why your brand is unique/different from others in your story. 💎
Say for example, you are a brand that manufactures chewing gum. You can consider manufacturing caffeinated chewing gums for customers who enjoy running in early mornings, and are lazy to make caffeinated drinks like coffee. ☕
So, your brand strategy helps you highlight the benefits/values of your caffeinated chewing gum to your customers in your story, such as: convenience and staying alert (meaning: they can avoid the hassle of preparing coffee, and stay alert for running in early mornings). 🌥️
Brand stories also give your customers a behind-the-scenes picture of your brand, such as:
- Why you started your manufacturing business in the first place
- The deep passion that you have for your products
- The standard of quality that you uphold when manufacturing your products
Wonda Coffee is one example of a brand that used brand storytelling to highlight their coffee’s standard of quality in their ad video.
Their ad video was scripted to be fun, entertaining and humorous to get their audience’s attention. You can watch it below: 👇
So, as you can see in the video, Wonda Coffee highlighted that they use only the best quality of coffee beans (Arabica beans), which are brewed with only the freshest and creamiest milk for their customers. 😋
But what most people don’t realise is, Wonda Coffee’s video ad is a result of months and months of hard work through brand strategy building.
Without a strong brand strategy, people watching this video won’t even be able to understand why Wonda Coffee is different from its competitors, and why Malaysians should buy Wonda Coffee instead. 💪
So, with that said, we’ll now explore how to build a strong brand strategy for your manufacturing business below. 🏭
How To Build A Brand Strategy For Your Manufacturing Business
Now, you already understand the importance of creating a brand strategy. ♟️
In this section you’ll learn HOW to build a brand strategy for your manufacturing business. 🏭
We’ll touch on these topics below: brand substance, brand positioning and brand persona.
Brand Substance: The Fundamentals of Brand Strategy
Your brand substance is the foundation of your brand strategy. 💪
Your brand substance has to consist of 3 major elements, that is your: brand purpose, vision and values.
These 3 elements are important because it will set the direction for your brand strategy.
- Brand Purpose
Brand purpose simply refers to: Why does your brand exist? Or what is your brand’s reason for being?
You can define your brand purpose by asking yourself two questions:
- What value does your manufacturing brand offer/contribute to your customers? 💎
- What is the impact of your contribution to your customers?
Take some time to think about these two questions in relation to your own manufacturing business. In case you’re stuck, here’s an example below to help you out. 💡
Let’s say you own a business that manufactures eco-friendly washing detergent. From this example, what do you think is your contribution to your customers?
Well, you can say that your contribution is producing and making more eco-friendly detergent available to your customers.
Next question. What’s the impact of your contribution to your customers? To answer this, you can say that your product helps save the environment and our seas from pollution.
Now, let’s put these two answers into one sentence. It would sound something like this: “My brand exists to manufacture eco-friendly washing detergent for eco-conscious customers, and help save the environment and seas from pollution.”
That’s how you start by identifying your brand purpose. 👍
Now, we come to the 2nd element: brand vision.
Your brand vision refers to: your brand’s goals and objectives. In other words, where is your manufacturing brand heading in the future?
To determine your brand vision, it’s always helpful to ask these questions:
- Where is my brand now?
- Where will my brand be in 5 years?
- Where will my brand be in 10 years?
- Where will my brand be in 20 years?
It’s important to note that these questions shouldn’t be based on wishful-thinking. Instead, when answering these questions, you have to be practical and set a realistic standard for your own brand.
So, try to write your brand vision on a piece of paper. Doing this will help you to see what your brand can become, especially in the long-run.
This is the final element that you need to determine for your brand substance.
Brand values simply mean: What values and beliefs does your brand stand for? 📢
By determining these values, you’ll understand how your manufacturing brand is perceived by your customers in the market.
For example, think about these brands like Louis Vuitton, Ferrari, Coach and Rolex. What brand values do you think all 4 of them share in common with one another?
Well, some of the obvious values are: exclusivity, wealth, luxury and fashionable. These values are what customers perceive when they think of these brands – hence, that’s why people buy them. 🤩
Here’s another example: If you manufacture products such as environmentally friendly washing detergent, your brand values can be things like: eco-conscious or nature-lover.
With that said, you should write a list of brand values that your manufacturing business can offer your customers. Have a think, don’t rush this process before moving to the next step.
Finally, once you’ve identified your brand purpose, vision and values, you can now move on to the next stage in your brand strategy, that is: brand positioning.
Brand Positioning Strategy
Quick definition: Brand positioning refers to positioning your brand cleverly, in the minds of your customers. 🧠
Brand positioning is more than just creating fancy logos or catchy taglines. Instead, it is how you tactically differentiate your product from others.
To do this, you have to discover and dive deep into what your product does better than everyone else.
Here are 3 important elements to remember when doing brand positioning: your target audience, market positioning and brand awareness goals.
We will start with the first element – your target audience.
- Target Audience
Every business including manufacturing brands need a target audience.
To identify your target audience, you need to create a buyer persona. An example of a buyer persona: 20 – 35 year old eco-conscious customers who are living in Kuala Lumpur. 🇲🇾
The best way to define your target audience is to ask yourself:
- Who can my business best help? 🤔
- Which demographic group can my product help best?
It’s important to define your audience correctly, as it will influence your decision on where to spend your advertising and marketing money, and even what products to manufacture next. 💡
If you want to, you can also target more than one demographic group. Vans is an example that uses this method. They are an American manufacturer of skateboarding shoes and related apparel.
Their main target audience are primarily skaters. But guess who else does Vans appeal to? Just take a look at their Instagram page in the picture below (@vans).
Based on the picture above, Vans also caters to audiences ranging from skaters to surfers, and even snowboarders (this is quite a wide group of customers)!
Here’s another screenshot of Vans demographic group on Instagram. This page is solely dedicated to promoting shoes and apparel for women (@vansgirls).
So, if you haven’t identified your target audience yet, here are some ideas to help you out. You can consider things like your customer’s:
- Causes / Passion
- Favourite TV shows or movies
- Preferred food
- Shopping Habits
Once you’ve identified your audience, then it’s time to start doing market positioning for your brand.
Market positioning refers to your brand’s ability to influence your customer’s perception of your business, when they compare your brand to your competitors. ⚖️
As always, a helpful way to do market positioning is to ask yourself questions. These questions are:
- What can your product do for your target audience?
- Why should your customers care about your products?
Bear in mind, the key to market positioning is: differentiation. In other words, what makes your brand unique from others?
If you’re still struggling to identify why your brand is unique compared to other manufacturers, then you can consider using the following types of positioning strategies below.
Types of positioning strategies for your brand:
- Product attributes and benefits
You can associate your brand/product with certain attributes that have certain beneficial values. Let’s use a big manufacturing brand like Apple as an example.
How does Apple differentiate their brand from others? Their brand philosophy has always been: “Think Different”. But how exactly do they think differently?
Here’s how. Remember the first introduction of the Siri interface on iPhone 4S? Well, today, Siri has now become the most commonly used voice-controlled assistants available for Apple users. 🗣️
But back then, most of Apple’s competitors did not even come up with this sort of technology for their users. It was something people didn’t know they needed, but something they really wanted to use. Apple stayed true to their brand philosophy and designed a function that is out-of-the-box and helps their customers in an elegant, interactive way.
- Product price
Associating your brand/product at competitive pricing is another way to make your product standout. This strategy can be used in two ways.
You can either set your product at a high price to show your customers that you are a luxurious brand, or set your pricing at an affordable price to cater to the majority of people.
Take BOH Tea, for example. They are one of Malaysia’s most well-known tea manufacturers who positioned their brand at affordable prices for most Malaysians. 🇲🇾
When comparing BOH Tea to other more expensive brands like Twinings (UK), BOH Tea comes out on top as the popular choice for Malaysians, in terms of its pricing.
As such, it really depends on whether you want to position your manufacturing brand as a luxurious brand or an affordable one to your target audience.
- Product quality
Another strategy is to associate your product as having high quality. Famous automobile manufacturers like Rolls Royce use this strategy very well.
If you compare a Rolls Royce with a Kia, it’s very clear that the former comes out on top in terms of its quality perception.
Not only is Rolls Royce a luxurious brand, but it is very well-known for its near-silent operation, and its focus on manufacturing cars that are extremely durable and long-lasting. 💪
A good example is the leather material used for Rolls Royce cars. The leather seats of Rolls Royce cars are gathered from bulls instead of cows. This is because cow leather can easily have stretch marks, especially if the cow is pregnant.
It is this sort of attention to detail that makes Rolls Royce one of the best cars available in the market that upholds true quality. 🙂
- Product use and application
The last method is to associate your brand/product with a specific use.
For example, Rip Curl is a widely known manufacturer and designer that produces surfing sportswear.
The brand is very popular in places like the USA and Australia, and their products are catered for specific uses and applications, primarily for beach activities.
As such, customers who enjoy surfing and swimming would see Rip Curl as one of the go-to brands for beach activities.
Brand Awareness Goals
Now that you’ve positioned your brand, it’s time to identify ways to get more people to know your brand exists. That’s what brand awareness is about.
If your customers can remember you, then the good news is, it shows your brand has already occupied a space in their hearts and minds.
So, this section will focus on showing you ways to increase brand awareness for your manufacturing business.
Firstly, when you identify your brand awareness goals, you must put yourself in your customers shoes.
You can do this by asking yourself these questions:
- “If I were a customer, how can I best find out about my brand?”
- “What awareness tactics are most effective to spread brand awareness for my business?”
Here are 6 commonly used awareness tactics today:
- Video marketing
Videos are the most popular and attention-grabbing form of content. Manufacturing companies like yourself can use videos to show your prospects a tour of your factory, and also to connect with your customers. 🤝
Videos are also easily shared across many platforms like Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and Whatsapp.
With the emergence of e-commerce platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, and marketplaces like Amazon and Etsy, many manufacturers have started opening their own stores. 🛒
This allows manufacturers like yourself to sell directly to customers, instead of going through middlemen like retailers and wholesalers.
As such, you can avoid wholesaler fees and retail space costs and have more control and responsibility over selling your own products.
- Social Media Marketing
This marketing tactic needs no introduction. Using social media, you can create content on platforms or engage influencers to promote your manufacturing brand. 📢
There are many platforms today like: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, TikTok and Clubhouse.
So, you need to identify the platform that the majority of your audience uses. After doing that, you can start creating content there to attract your audience. If you’re looking for social media content ideas, you can click to read this article here – it’s a goldmine! 🌟
SEO stands for search engine optimisation. Investing in SEO helps you to rank your website or article on the 1st page of Google.
This is not paid advertising because you are earning brand awareness organically and naturally (and not by paying for them).
There’s no point designing a stunning website, or writing an article if no one’s going to see it. SEO can help you get the visibility you need to spread awareness of your manufacturing brand.
PPC is short for pay-per-click. It’s a paid advertising tactic where you will have to pay a fee each time an internet user on Google clicks on your ads.
This tactic is a way of buying visits to your site, rather than attempting to “earn” visits to your website organically. PPC is the opposite of SEO.
Billboards are an age-old brand awareness tactic. You can see them placed on Malaysian roadsides and highways (EVERYWHERE)! We love our billboards 👁️
It’s hard to ignore a billboard when you’re bored and waiting for the green light stuck in traffic. It’s still an effective tactic today, as you’ll be advertising to large masses of people who drive by.
Want more tips and ideas on brand awareness tactics? You can read more here in this article – we wrote a compilation of all the tactics available there!
Now, we’ve reached the final stage: brand persona.
A brand persona is a collection of personality traits and attitudes which you can use to connect with your audience with your manufacturing brand.
To create a good brand persona for your manufacturing business, you’ll need to come up with 3 elements for your brand.
These 3 elements are your: brand personality, brand voice and brand story.
Let’s start with brand personality first. 👇
- Brand Personality
Everyone has a personality, even businesses. A brand personality refers to a set of human characteristics that are attributed to your manufacturing company.
When thinking about your brand personality, it’s helpful to ask yourself: “what kind of person do I want my brand to be?”
Having a brand personality prevents your manufacturing company from sounding like a boring, faceless corporation. Customers love brands who are personal and can connect with them.
A good way to start crafting your brand personality is to use brand archetypes.
Brand archetypes help to give your brand a character that makes your business relatable to audiences that share similar values with your brand. This is the key to building a relationship with your audience.
So, take your time and read through the list below to determine which brand archetype you think is best suited for your manufacturing business.
A list of brand archetypes for your manufacturing business:
- The Innocent
The Innocent is a brand archetype that sees life as full of goodness and simplicity, and wants to share the simple pleasures of life with their customers. A good example is McDonald’s, as their tagline says: “I’m Lovin’ It”. 🍟
- The Sage
The Sage believes that knowledge is power. They are passionate about spreading knowledge, truth and intelligence to understand the world better. Common brands that use this archetype are: Google and National Geographic. 🦁
- The Explorer
The Explorer is interested in living an authentic and fulfilling life. They want freedom to discover the world around them. A good example of this archetype is GoPro, as seen in their adventurous-sounding tagline: “Be a hero”. 💪
- The Magician
The Magician inspires transformation. They enchant us and inspire us with magical solutions to make our dreams come true. Brands that use this archetype are: Apple and Intel. 🤓
- The Rebel
Rebels do things differently. This archetype challenges the status quo and sparks revolutions. Harley Davidson is a good example that uses this archetype. Their tagline “American by birth. Rebel by choice” demonstrates their rebellious spirit. 😎
- The Hero
The Hero challenges and inspires their target audience to pursue achievements, no matter how hard or difficult the journey is. A good example is Nike, as seen in their infamous tagline, “Just Do It”. 🏃♂️
- The Citizen
The Citizen archetype focuses on making regular people feel like they belong. Brands that focus on pricing their products at an affordable price to customers, often use this archetype. Examples of brands that use this archetype are: Brands Outlet, Forever 21 and Padini. 🛍️
- The Jester
Like its name, The Jester has a fun, spontaneous and carefree personality. Jesters take life less seriously and try to bring laughter to customers. Brands like Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon use this archetype to bring joy and laughter to children. 🤡
- The Lover
The Lover is all about affection and feelings. They appreciate real beauty around them and seek meaningful connections with their target audience. Brands like Lux and Godiva use this archetype to evoke sensual feelings within their customers. 💖
- The Ruler
The Ruler archetype appeals to audiences who want to feel successful and important. This archetype is commanding, authoritative and in control. Mercedes Benz uses this archetype to make its users feel important and authoritative when driving their cars. 🚘
- The Caregiver
The Caregiver archetype puts people before themselves. They show people that they are compassionate, generous and trustworthy by helping others. Insurance companies such as AIA Group use this archetype to promote their products/services. 👍
- The Creator
The Creator is a visionary. This archetype sees the big picture, and is passionate about creating something meaningful. They love new ideas. Lego is a good example that uses this archetype, as their brand is all about creating and innovating.💡
So, which one of these archetypes do you think best suits your manufacturing brand? Have a think and play around with two or three archetypes to see which is most relevant for your brand.
If you want a better understanding of each of these archetypes above ☝️, you will probably find this article very helpful. Click to read it here. 👈
Once you’ve determined your brand personality, you need to create a brand voice for your manufacturing company. 🗣️
Everyone speaks differently. You speak differently from your friends and family members. Maybe you sound more gentle when communicating with people, whereas your friends could sound more assertive.
These are different tones of voice. And every brand, including manufacturing brands, should have one as well.
The idea is to shape your manufacturing brand into a human being, so that you can sound as human as possible to your customers.
When crafting your brand voice, here are some ideas you can consider:
- Formality: Do you want to sound more casual or formal?
Humour: Do you want to sound more funny or serious?
Respectfulness: Do you want to sound more sassy or respectful?
Enthusiasm: Do you want to sound more enthusiastic or matter-of-fact?
By determining your brand voice, you’ll be able to write your contents in a more consistent tone of voice for your website, articles, social media captions, and even video scripts for advertising.
Your brand story is the final element to complete your brand strategy. Everyone, including your manufacturing brand, has a story to tell.
Creating a brand story is helpful, as it can be used in your website’s About Us page, or even when creating a video to market your brand.
So, here’s what you need to know when crafting your brand story:
- Who is the main character of your story?
The main character of your story should always be your customer, not you.
People like being the main character. No one wants to be the supporting character of the story (this applies to your customers as well).
Once you’ve identified the main character, you need to give him/her a desire. This desire has to be related to your customer’s desire.
For example, if your customers are eco-conscious people, then it’s likely that their desire is to see environmental preservation.
- Who is the one that helps the main character in your story?
This is where your brand comes in. 👇
You are the enabler of the story. In other words, you are the helper who helps the main character (your customer) to overcome their problems.
So, in this section, you need to explain how your products can help your customers overcome their problems/dilemmas. 💡
Let’s use washing detergent products as an example. Say if you’re an eco-friendly detergent manufacturer, you can say that your products enable/help your customers to protect the environment better.
Or you can also say that your products enable/help your customers to reduce river pollution and preserve the world so that our future generations can enjoy the beauty of nature.
- What is the conflict/problem in your story?
Every story needs to have conflict or problems to move the story forward. If there is no drama, the story becomes dull and boring.
So, if your company produces eco-friendly washing detergent, you can introduce conflicts/problems such as explaining the current state of our environment today, or explain how bad the air pollution is today, or even highlight about polluted rivers and seas in our country.
The whole idea here is to make your customers aware of the conflict/problem that they face. And then, explain how your products can help them resolve that particular problem.
- What is the ending of the story?
This final part of your brand story should focus on the results, after your customers use your product.
Say if you are creating an advertising video for your manufacturing business, you can show your customers in the video that by using your eco-friendly washing detergent, the world will become cleaner, less polluted and nature is preserved. 🌳
To have a complete understanding on brand storytelling, you might find this article extremely helpful. Click to read the article here. 👈
Wrapping It Up…
We really hope that these tips will help elevate your brand strategy for your manufacturing business.
The advent of digital technology has changed many things in the manufacturing industry.
So, if you need someone to help you navigate the branding and digital landscape, we could be the agency that you’re looking for. 🙂
Reach out to us here for a chat. We can do coffee, tea and an insightful session. 👋
Or if you want to learn how to do it for your business and get hands-on coaching, you can register for our Brand Strategy Masterclass here.