Henry Ford once said “A man who stops advertising to save money, is like a man who stops the clock to save time.” What Mr. Ford knew is that it’s rarely enough to have a great offering; long-term success requires that companies continually remind current and prospective customers who they are, what they sell and why they’re important.
Unfortunately, cutting advertising and branding expenditures is an all-too-common response to meeting short-term financial objectives. Your channel partners are typically more attuned to their suppliers’ brands than anyone else is. It matters so much to them because:
- Channel partners know the brands they carry reflect on them… positively or negatively.
- Being the distributor of strong, well-known brands can open doors to prospective customers that otherwise may not be open.
- Strong brands can reduce the effort/investment required in the selling process as prospects often need less convincing to purchase.
To give channel partners the level of brand support they need, industrial manufacturers need to adhere to four guiding principles:
- Provide clear and consistent branding and brand messaging.
- Invest in your brand and brand messaging appropriately.
- Show an adequate level of participation in events like trade shows.
- Ensure channel partners have the ability to co-brand in accordance with brand guidelines.
The best way to know if you are adhering to these principles effectively is to ask your channel partners. They’re on the front lines and see the implications every day. Make sure you ask.
Bart Schwartz, President / ICR / 630.503.6093