A while ago I had the opportunity to meet a CEO of a company that produces a well-known, globally used printing product. I was stunned to learn this company was right in my backyard yet I had no idea they were here. I asked how that could be because clearly from the size of this company they must have a strong marketing approach, and he said they had none. They had an old website and even older business cards and nothing else yet they dominate their market world-wide. I asked how that could be and he told me they had high-value industry contacts and a great partner. Then he finished with “…yeah, we’ve been told we’re the best kept secret in our industry”.
Since then I’ve met many business owners and C-suite executives of companies that have had tremendous growth because of the quality of their product/service and a great Rolodex, but no recognition of their corporate brand. They are most likely “secrets in their industry (and their local market)” as well. When I ask how this serves their company they acknowledge that it really doesn’t and that they have been thinking about addressing it
I believe “being the industry’s best kept secret” happens because senior leaders really don’t understand what impact marketing their corporate brand can have for their company. They often view corporate branding as the company logo and an “About Us” page on their website, and they don’t see the value in investing in a corporate marketing effort. Add to that, they feel that their time is already stretched too thin to be able to focus on another strategic effort.
If any of this sounds familiar to you, let me share with you the top 3 benefits of marketing your corporate brand that you may not have considered and why being your industry’s best kept secret is truly not working for you.
Visibility. First and foremost, a consistent corporate marketing effort provides visibility of your company for its assets other than the products and services it provides. Those assets have value to the market, and they include the expertise of senior management, IP, processes that allow you to service your customers and employees well, and your unique business approach that helps the company’s products or services be successful.
Credibility. The more the market knows about your company the more credibility you bring to your products or services. Positioning key executives as thought leaders in their area of expertise and leveraging them as the go-to person for press and analysts in your industry and local community, as well as announcing new IP, equipment, processes and programs, builds confidence and assures the market that your company is rooted in solid business practices and industry experience.
Leadership. Companies that treat the corporate brand as a valuable asset by exposing, nurturing and growing it become one of their industry’s and community’s leader. They’re revered for the position they have carved out, they are sought after for the collective wisdom the company holds, and they are trusted to contribute not only quality products and services but value to the marketplace because their brand has meaning. Building your corporate brand is building your leadership position.
Being the “industry’s best kept secret” means you’re missing out on growing your company and its value beyond straight sales numbers. Companies that have highly visible and highly credible corporate brands exceed their own expectations, and grow in many ways that a straight product/service brand marketing approach cannot.
Brand is a valuable asset of the corporation, and should be treated like any other asset. This means it must be invested in, put to work to generate value and held accountable for the results.
– Joanna Seddon, evp, Millward Brown