Find out how branding your business based on your expertise can pull you out of a buyer's market and make your company more attractive than the competition.
By Rick Mandel
Let's take a company that specializes in fabric printing as an example. Many digital devices can print directly onto fabrics or print dye-sublimation graphics that can be transferred to fabrics. Becoming a recognized authority in this niche requires specialized equipment, skills in design and engineering, knowledge of various fabric types and their characteristics, and experience and tools for sewing and finishing. Overlooking any of these mandatory elements renders you nothing more than a digital printer and an amateur. If you lack the expertise in these areas, then I don't see how you could speak with any authority to a customer who, for example, would like fabric graphics stretched and mounted on a uniquely shaped frame.
The ability to discuss the project with the customer, talk about options, and demonstrate how you'll deliver the quality and turnaround adds value way beyond just offering a competitive price. Can the other 19 print shops in town offer the kind of extra value that builds on a price that satisfies both the customer and the printer's bottom line? Not unless they can recommend the perfect material, come through with the sewing techniques that will prevent the product from wrinkling during installation, and create a prototype in close collaboration with the display-hardware manufacturer. But these tasks are no problem for your shop because you offer so much more expertise than just imaging on fabric. That expertise is the brand you need to use when you market your services. Building a brand around shaving a few pennies off the cost of a print run won't bring you much success.
Your brand is the cornerstone of who you are, what you do, how you do it, and what makes you different from the competition. It's your company's philosophy—its essence. The concept sounds easy to understand, but communicating it is another story. Quick and concise descriptions of how you achieve your final product will resonate with your prospective clients.
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