Branding for manufacturing and ‘job work’ companies

Recently I delivered a talk on marketing and branding to a group of small manufacturers who did ‘job work’ for bigger manufacturers of B2B products. Their business turnover was annually between 10 to 50 cr. I was speaking to them about the role of marketing in their business. As they did ‘job work’, their customers were fixed. Their products were tailor made to suit their customer’s specifications.
They heard me out and maybe felt that marketing was the prerogative of consumer products and services and not them, since they did ‘job work’. What was the use of marketing and branding for them?
Marketing is very often misunderstood as a selling function with the end objective of increasing sales.
However, manufacturing or ‘job work’ enterprises should market themselves if they want to grow. They need to understand and invest in marketing and branding. A lesser known fact of marketing is that a brand is built as a result of marketing alone. Companies that make business products and services need to build their brand. Some of the top brands of the world are such company brands.
Some of these companies started manufacturing and doing ‘job work’ and became big. They were ambitious to scale up and go beyond what they were doing and understood that marketing played a very important role.
A very interesting example is of Intel. Computer chips were an unknown component of PCs and a commodity product. From a competitive standpoint there is no performance difference. But Intel built a brand and by 1997 it controlled 90% of the world’s market for personal PC microprocessors. Intel is still the largest chip manufacturer in the world.
In 1991, the “Intel Inside” brand programme was launched. Intel needed to differentiate itself from its competitors and build a brand due to which it could position its chips as a premium product, in turn sell at a premium price to computer manufacturers. Intel convinced manufacturers that their computers would have higher perceived value if they featured Intel in their own marketing.The name “Intel Inside” became the first trademark in the electrical component industry. Intel gained the confidence of the end consumer that “Intel Inside” represented quality and reliability. The results were stunning. Now products that don’t carry the Intel inside logo arouse suspicion among consumers.
Market research has indicated that end-users show a strong preference for computers with Intel saying they will pay a premium for the brand.
This demonstrates how a successful, marketing and branding program can transform a commodity business product into a brand with value.
Be it a manufacturing company making machines or a company doing ‘job work’. Be it a consumer product or service, a branding strategy definitely adds value.

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