As products become increasingly similar, companies are turning to branding as a way to create a preference for their offerings. Branding has been the essential factor in the success of well-known consumer goods such as Coca Cola, McDonald’s, Kodak, and Mercedes. In fact, these brands are worth many times more than the book value of the property used to make these brands.
Now it is time for more industrial companies to start using branding in a sophisticated way. Some industrial companies have led the way… Caterpillar, DuPont, Siemens, GE. But industrial companies must understand that branding goes far beyond building names for a set of offerings. Branding is about promising that the company’s offering will create and deliver a certain level of performance. The promise behind the brand becomes the motivating force for all the activities of the company and its partners. Thus if Motorola promises six sigma quality, then everyone at Motorola is driven to create and deliver this level of performance.
Thus branding is the road that a company must travel to define what it wants to be excellent at and how its offerings differ from from those of the competitors. Branding is the outward expression of the company’s earlier decisions on positioning its products and articulating its value propositions to buyers. When branding works, the sales people enter the offices of customers already well-known and respected who stand ready to give them a hearing.