The beauty of large organizations is the number of products and services they can launch in any given time frame. But the leaders of initiatives often find themselves competing for mindshare.
In some cases, they’ll go through the traditional company process to release information, which might involve training and internal communications. But sometimes they get so desperate to gain traction on their own initiatives that they go rogue. And when that happens, it becomes something like the Wild West.
Among the chaos, team members can find it hard to keep up with all of the internal branding that’s being thrown at them, so messaging can become inconsistent and disjointed, complicating the go-to-market process.
Links in the Go-to-Market Chain
When a company has several links in its go-to-market chain, especially in manufacturing businesses, each successive hand-off results in decreased knowledge and attention. Marketing pushes the information to sales, sales carries the message to dealers or distribution partners, and dealers present the message to consumers. You’ll notice that this last group — the dealers — is an external partner that most likely represents a variety of products, which makes it even harder to reach.
These moving parts result in a message that gets lost in translation. It’s like the old game of telephone with the brand intending to tell one message but the end consumer receiving a very different story.
This lack of alignment dilutes the brand story and can lead to a lack of trust from consumers, which can then translate to lost customers and revenue.
Aligning the Brand Strategy
Marketing leaders within branded manufacturing categories can implement a brand alignment strategy to address these problems. Start with these steps:
1. Check in at all levels.
With several links in the value chain, it’s important that you assess belief in your brand and product message. Too often, the message starts with the C-suite only to be diluted downstream. A top-down solution with manufacturers pushing out information to distributors just doesn’t work anymore.
The key is to gather input on a regular basis and assess where a breakdown might be occurring, which could be internally or at the consumer level. Understand different departments’ perceptions and needs and how the messaging flows through each. Also, collect data and obtain insight into the customer’s reaction to brand messaging. From there, marketing can adjust, clarify, and improve the messaging.
2. Simplify messaging.
Most manufacturing companies market their products by listing the features. Upgrades are touted to the masses because manufacturers want to share the progress they’ve made. Unfortunately, this can lead to complex messaging.
Consumers are more apt to engage if the message is simple and focused and helps them identify with the brand, not just the product. Encourage internal stakeholders to focus on the main themes instead of granular details.
3. Tell the story in new ways.
One-sheets and product training used to move the needle. Not anymore. Manufacturers can engage internal stakeholders by showing, not telling. Allow them to experience the product with launch events. Similar to an external consumer event, an internal launch allows team members to have a hands-on experience with the product and better maintain consistent messaging.
Our recent study of 250 senior professionals at midsize to large companies found that events and peer-to-peer engagement are two of the top ways to gain alignment and adoption for the brand vision and story. Peer-to-peer learning can be done in real time and allows teams to manage the messaging quickly.
Consistent messaging is critical to company success and customer loyalty. By checking in at all points and evaluating the distribution of brand messaging, marketers can ensure consumers are receiving the information they need to hear when they need to hear it.