B-to-B Cataloging: Who’s Buying? Who’s Working?
A crucial point of your brand inventory is to take a look at the most important element of your business: your customers. Who are your customers and why do they buy from you? Why do your customers identify with your company? Are your customers high end, wanting the best? Are they unpretentious with solid reputations? Your customers are identifying with your company. Discover more about them, and you’ll discover more about where your business should focus its efforts.
Next ask, who are your employees? Are they highly trained wanting to continue their professional development? Are they innovators looking for new ideas to improve the company? The type of employees you attract is a good indication of your brand’s health.
One company that catered to the government market offered unique, high-quality product. It didn't compete on price and provided excellent service with a high initial fill rate. The challenge it had was that its competition did all of the same things. Differentiating the brand was a challenge.
When the customer component was brought into the equation, an unclaimed differentiator became apparent. The customers were harried administrators who often had to maneuver a Byzantine internal purchase order system to purchase an essential product. The company that could solve this problem for the customer had a clear advantage. Ironically, this company had solved it. It just wasn’t promoting the service. A brand differentiator was born!
But something else was discovered. Employees wanted to make customers’ lives easier. The smart company let its employees fulfill their passion. Employees who can fulfill their passion at work are more likely to stay with the company.
Though your logo and design are important parts of your brand identification, your brand is far more than consistent creative treatment. Your brand is a commitment that you make to your customer. When successful, it’s how your customer identifies you cognitively and emotionally.
A columnist for Retail Online Integration, George founded HAGUEdirect, a marketing agency. Previously he was a member of the Shawnee Mission, Kan.-based consulting and creative agency J. Schmid & Assoc. He has more than 10 years of experience in circulation, advertising, consulting and financial strategy in the catalog/retail industry. George's expertise includes circulation strategy, mailing execution, response analysis and financial planning. Before joining J. Schmid, George worked as catalog marketing director at Dynamic Resource Group, where he was responsible for marketing and merchandising for the Annie's Attic Needlecraft catalog, the Clotilde Sewing Notions catalog, the House of White Birches Quilter's catalog and three book clubs. George also worked on corporate acquisitions.