BRANDING MATTERS: HERE’S WHY
Updated: Oct 11
The forest industry laments the fact that it is misunderstood, that consumers fail to appreciate the inherent sustainability of forest products, and that such a highly sophisticated and diverse industry is often treated as one giant commodity. But it doesn’t always ask why.
There is growing acknowledgement that the sector has an excellent story to tell, but the story is not always told effectively. Part of the problem is that branding is often overlooked in strategic planning. It is true that a strong brand doesn’t automatically mean a higher product price, especially in a commodity market where prices are listed and cyclical. But a strong brand can bring monetary value indirectly.
It could mean, for example, being the first to raise prices and the last to lower them.
Strong branding can give the Sales team the confidence to avoid painful rebates when the market is against them.
Strong branding can help smaller companies differentiate themselves from bigger players in the market.
It can lead to more committed business relations which, in turn, will result in a more stable and even flow of products to the market. The latter is important in a process industry where production and logistic planning are key factors for profitability.
A strong brand builds trust. It gives the customer/consumer confidence that the brand is well positioned for the future, that it is reliable and successful.
The brand can become a symbol of sustainability and therefore peace of mind for the customer.
The perception of higher quality/service that comes with successful branding might well earn the supplier first choice as a partner for product development.
Regardless of whether it is B2B or B2C, people make purchasing decisions based on emotion more than reason. Research shows that business professionals are around 50% more likely to buy a product or service that demonstrates personal value through emotional appeals. Branding is emotional not rational and it can make the difference when a customer is choosing between very similar products. All things being equal, the strongest brand will win because people prefer to buy from a brand they believe in and trust.
Done right, the brand can add value for customers as well as the company – strong sustainability communication and thought leadership, for example, can be used further down the value chain by the customer to communicate with their customers.
The soft power of branding extends to employees as well as customers. Knowing they work for the leading brand gives the sales team the confidence to stand firm in negotiations, but it can also create a sense of unity, motivation, pride and strength among all employees. When everyone has signed up to the same vision and values, the company tends to move forward more smoothly. Strong brands attract and keep talent.
In short, a strong brand means more power. Ready to think about how to improve your position in the market? Read on for a quick guide to begin building your brand.