UPDATED Nov 2015
Read our latest post covering key tools and tips to exactly how you can achieve added value.
Brand building is important in any industry and owning strong brands typically means a steady drive of profit for your company. The benefit of brands over commodities is that they have the capacity to add value for customers and clients. Because the quality of products is becoming increasingly similar, you have to achieve some form of differentiation that sets you apart from competitors.
What better way to do this, than build a positive, strong and memorable brand that gives customers value that they will not receive anywhere else?
Brands are at the forefront of forming relationships with your clients because they contain an emotional element with which people can relate. Having feelings for a brand – either positive or negative – can influence purchase decisions. Therefore, we wanted to investigate how construction companies can build and maintain their brands and ensure that they are ‘top of mind’ for main contractors, architects and specifiers.
To create a valuable brand, you have to first define some core brand values so that you know exactly what your brand stands for. Brand values are essentially the essence of a brand which can be expressed in a few keywords such as creativity, durability or integrity.
As a business, if you do not define these values first then how will your customer know who you are or what you can provide them? Brand values are especially important for a construction product manufacturer because they need to create a unique and favourable brand identity for their product so that they can differentiate themselves from the competition, whose products probably deliver the same results, but might not have the same emotional connection that architects and specifiers have developed with your brand.
The important point to remember is that your marketing and communication activities should stay true to these values or else you will be sending out an inconsistent and confusing message to prospects.
For example, if creativity is a core brand value and none of your products or services display this quality then it will appear to be ‘just talk’ and leads who might have been interested in your company because of this will leave since you cannot deliver what you promise.
For the Pauley Creative team, added value is demonstrated by a construction company (especially a product manufacturer) that provides their customers with technical support, a dedicated customer service team, expert guidance, an on-site installation team, maintenance service etc which their competitors cannot offer. If competitors can, then it’s not really adding any value.
It is therefore a strategic way of differentiating your company from the rest of the market and even if your price is slightly higher, these value added benefits will make your existing and potential customers/clients want to buy from you.
Unfortunately we have to face facts and most businesses simply want to add value to the bottom line, meaning more sales and more profit. However, in our competitive marketplace today the companies who are truly successful and want to remain relevant for a long time have to put their customers and clients first!
This means identifying what is important to them, what problems they are facing and can you offer a solution? Show an interest in them and learn how to identify their needs even before they realise them. Business today is not about sell, sell, sell or one-way pitches that broadcast how amazing you are. Instead business today is about conversations (both on and offline).
Make sure you listen when clients are telling you what they want/need and don’t let your ego get in the way and assume you always know what’s best for them. Work together because in that way you will achieve the best results, both for you and for them. The key to doing all this is adding value- going above and beyond for your customers- because let’s face it, without them your business would not exist!
The most important action is communication! Emotions are the essence of communication and construction marketers should focus on the emotional needs of their customers and this means empathising with them and understanding how to make their lives better. If you manufacture a product that could save housebuilders lots of time and money then make sure you communicate this benefit to them.
Show them how this product will improve their productivity and make their job easier. People tend to remember when someone solved an important problem- not because of the product specifications or facts that you tried to sell them but the feeling they felt when they realised its benefit. Simply put, memory is tied to emotions and emotions are more real than thoughts.
So if you apply this concept to marketing you will notice that providing useful, meaningful and relevant information does exactly that – it makes people remember you because you satisfy their needs by providing a service that is of value to them. Now you just need to identify which channels are best for communicating and spreading this knowledge to your target audience and also the right timing. Know when to email your newsletter subscribers, engage with your Twitter followers or talk about a topic in a LinkedIn discussion so that it has maximum impact.
The purpose of adding value is to identify customer and clients needs and meet, if not exceed, them. But as Seth Godin writes in his book, Purple Cow, “the key to failure is trying to please everyone.” I completely agree with this statement and you will probably notice a vast improvement in the running of your business, and your profits, if you start focusing your efforts only on those clients who matter to your company.
By being honest about your intentions and clearly stating your position in the market, you will attract the right kind of customers and clients that you want and eliminate those that simply drain your resources and contribute nothing valuable. Everyone is not your customer so do not be afraid to say no or turn down a prospect with which you don’t see a ‘fit’.
Identifying your ideal customer’s problem is the start of the value adding process. Creating an environment that entices the right people and doing this well, means the value you add is remembered, passed on (word of mouth) and reciprocated. Essentially clients will look at the cost/benefit ratio when deciding to purchase a product or service from you so it is important to ensure the right values are added so that the prospect instantly recognises the benefits you can provide.
Is your marketing communications strategy based around the ‘added value’ your business can offer? What do you think the construction industry values the most and have you seen an improvement in your business since implementing them? Are you still targeting ‘everyone’ or have you clearly defined who your target audience is and moulded your products/services to cater for their needs and wants?
We want to hear from you so leave a comment or give us a call on 01908 671707.