A Simple Brand Checklist for Fabrication Companies
If you’ve managed to establish your core competence, then congratulations, you’re 5000% further on than the vast majority of fabricators. The only trouble is that a core competence in itself, whilst critical, does little to protect you from competitors who wish to position themselves in a similar space. If the core competence is to actually count for anything, we need to develop it into a more expansive brand identity.
Unfortunately, brand identity tends to be communicated by marketers in wooly and abstract terms (usually because of a lack of knowledge on their part), so business people assume it’s just a bunch of marketing wank. It really isn’t, and when approached properly it should be a really systematic and simple process.
This article is aimed at providing a short checklist to help you ask some of the fundamental questions required to create a meaningful brand identity, without spending £80,000 on a Brand Expert to drink frappuccino’s while nattering about “storyscaping”, “ideation” and “thought showers”. These people don’t deserve to live.
To illustrate each of the simple elements required in an effective brand identity, we will use Alutech as an example…
Core competence – as explained in the previous article, this is the one thing that you can do better than anyone else in the market and that your audience really cares about.
Alutech’s core competence – Ridiculously good customer service.
Your purpose – people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it, so what’s your purpose and why should people care?
Alutech’s purpose – The fabrication market is broken. Customers are taken for granted and suppliers get away with it because things have always been done that way.
Alutech Systems exists to change that. By placing the customer need above every other consideration, Alutech Systems will disrupt the market & transform customer expectations. Alutech Systems will demonstrate what ‘great’ looks like and raise the bar for the entire industry.
Your position – What do you do and who do you do it for? This should flow directly from your core competence. For example, if your core competence is technically challenging installations, then your position might be “We sell highly advanced fabrication solutions for ambitious architects”.
The shorter the position statement the better. As Seth Godin once said, “If your position is longer than 8 words, you don’t have a position.”
Alutech’s position – Alutech Systems are the leading supplier of aluminium systems to ambitious UK fabricators.
Your value proposition – this will tend to be a little more detailed and should capture the key benefits of your service along with a source of credibility so that people believe you. The benefits are likely to be primarily functional, so could be based on price, quality, turnaround time, etc… but may also include some more emotional elements, such as how does your business make the customer feel? Are they reassured by your brand, or excited at the possibilities it represents?
Alutech’s value proposition – Alutech Systems is challenging the accepted levels of customer service that UK aluminium fabricators receive from their suppliers, developing and delivering products that add real value, which may explain why 80% of our customers have been with us for over 5 years!
The broader identity – once the above is confirmed, we can then elaborate the identity in the following four directions:
- Product – what are your key product/service features and benefits? These USP’s should be clearly defined and consistently communicated across all sales collateral.
- Organisation – what are your organisation’s values? How are you embedding them into your culture? How are they built in to your recruitment process so you can hire people just like the people who have made the business a success to date?
- Personality – this is usually based on the founder or senior leadership team. What’s the tone of voice? Is the personality professional, friendly, smart, relaxed, direct?
- Symbol – finally, what does it look like. This is the final 10% of brand but unfortunately all that people tend to think of.
If you can’t capture all of the above in one large (A1) sheet of paper, then your brand identity is not simple enough. By all means let a brand expert turn that into a 500 page brand bible, but if the key elements are to count for anything, they need to be kept clear and succinct.
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