This week we’re joined by Mathias Konne of EuroKera, here to discuss the challenges of building a company brand – specifically online. The company, which specializes in glass ceramic products like such as stovetops and fireplaces, just launched a new website. They have five factories around the globe, and countless customers worldwide.

EuroKera started in 1990, but when Mathias came onboard as late as 2014, the company still didn’t have much of a branding or marketing plan at all. Their product is unique and kind of sold itself for a long time, because there were only so many options in that industry and customers were easy to locate.

Like Eurokera, many niche companies are realizing that they still need to build their brand, despite any current lack of competition.

WHY IS BRANDING SUDDENLY SO VITAL?

In a word: consumers.

“We realized that you have to educate consumers in order to create that demand…and that really helps with your business as a whole.”

People are used to getting information instantly, and that includes educational information. As a marketer, you have an opportunity to provide those materials and demonstrate your relevant expertise.

Now that consumers have the ability to be more informed, they want to be more informed about the goings-on behind the scenes of their daily lives.

START WITH VISUAL CONSISTENCY

When Mathias first came on, EuroKera had a website – but it was already fairly outdated and was little more than a digital brochure. It had not necessarily been designed to appeal to the company’s client personas, and many of the logos and fonts were inconsistent with one another – both of which are actually big branding no-no’s. “In the B2B world, it’s not that uncommon for companies to have that kind of issue,” he told us.

“One of the first things that we did was bring cohesion into [the brand] and bring in a real corporate look. A visual identity.”

Truth be told, they’re still working on that identity to this day in some places. Building a brand takes a tremendous amount of time. But they started simply by creating a new website – one that matched the image they wanted to convey – and then they made sure all their collateral matched that visual.

“Someone told me one time –and I thought it was the greatest quote I ever heard for marketing– they said, ‘Do the basics…but do them brilliantly.’

“I think if you do the basics and do them brilliantly, then that is the most efficient way you can do things.”

BRANDING ISN’T JUST APPEALING TO CREATIVES

Why is a cohesive brand identity important across marketing collateral and throughout your website if it’s all just for a bunch of B2B engineers? Because even if they’re not right-brained, emotionally-extravagant folks…sometimes their decisions are still subconsciously determined by the feeling conveyed by a particular brand.

Left-brained people may not value artsy things, but they do value consistency.

“If you have different looks, if you have different colors, if you have different fonts, if you have different…lo-res images; at the end, even if you don’t do that intentionally, you’re hurting the company’s image.

Whereas if everyone speaks with one voice and everything looks the same, when you build that brand you build that strength. Then you attach a message to this brand…and that’s where the value is added to your products.”

If a thousand people all scream different things at you, you may not understand more than two or three of them. But if they all scream one word, it comes across loud and clear.

DON’T FALL INTO THE ‘NO RUSH’ TRAP

Even in niche industries like glass-ceramic, competition is more likely to increase than decrease as time goes on. And even if your competitors are not yet on the same level with your product or service, you never know if one day they’ll start catching up.

“There’s new companies setting up every day…they may not be good enough today with their products, the quality may not be the same…but you never know what the future holds. And the main mission of marketing is to protect your brand.”

Many manufacturers focus on the quality of their products – as they should – but branding actually influences your customers’ perception of quality, too.

A professional look will help your customers take you seriously and trust your attention to detail. Make sure your message is clear and undiluted.

METRICS WILL PROVE VALUE

“Once you…get your [marketing plans] together, then you have to market your marketing department.”

And that’s difficult to do because in B2B, marketing is viewed as a bottomless expense pit rather than an asset. It’s a stigma you have to fight…but the good news is, the field of industrial manufacturing is full of engineers.

Engineers love graphics and charts, so if you get the data to back up your campaigns then that will go a long way.

“If you give a paper brochure to somebody, he may walk to the corner and put it in the trash. Whereas if you have a website, if you have social media channels, if you have a newsletter or a blog…you can clearly measure how many visitors you get, how much traffic you get, how many of these convert, the quality of your traffic, everything…and that’s what the executives want to see.”

The numbers will help build your reputation and the trust of others in your mission and your work. And as time goes on, the journey is simply a bit of trial and error until you can decide with more certainly what methods are for you, and which aren’t.

The question isn’t if you can afford to build your brand…
the question is, can you afford not to?

 

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