Training Practices for Today’s Building Materials Manufacturer
Article Date: May 19, 2020
Get on the Same Page
Think about the last time you had the great fortune to take in a performance by a group of singers, whether it was the local high school musical or a choral concert by professional vocalists. Perhaps one was singing soprano, another alto, another tenor, and another baritone. Each had their part to play in contributing to the group’s overall performance, which meant hitting the notes in their particular voice.
What ensured that everything was in harmony? It was the sheet of music developed by the composer that guided everyone’s performance. That artfully crafted collection of notes is what made it melodious.
As a building products manufacturer, your company should have a carefully crafted brand voice that helps to define who you are in the marketplace. Your company also has many voices – from the front office and the factory floor to the C-suite and beyond – that share your brand’s story in their daily interactions. Each one of those interactions can have an impact on your company’s reputation, its growth, and its success.
When you tell a consistent, compelling story about your brand and your products and how each have a measurable impact on construction projects of all kinds, you are following the ingredients for success.
How do you go about defining your brand voice and the messages that support it? Further, how do you ensure your employees are singing off the same sheet of music so you can maximize the impact of your efforts to raise the brand’s awareness and credibility?
Self-Examination and Active Listening
According to a survey recently conducted in part by FocusVision, a customer insights technology provider, 66 percent of survey respondents lacked confidence that their whole company was on the same page regarding their brand story. Another study of businesses prepared by Lucidpress, makers of a web-based desktop publishing software application, found that presenting a company’s brand consistently can result in a revenue increase of 23 percent.
Whether your company manufactures doors and windows, external cladding, insulation, or another product for the construction industry, success requires you to identify your key attributes: What you do well, how you distinguish yourselves from the competitors, and how that represents a value proposition to your customers and prospects.
To arrive at those core messages that will drive your story, you should undertake a methodical process to locate your company’s voice:
- Listen carefully. Understanding what you do well as a building products manufacturer and why that has relevance to your potential and current customers requires gathering input from a wide variety of sources. This exercise should in no way be limited to the C-suite such that the message is only coming from what might be considered an “echo chamber.” Take the time to seek perspective from many different stakeholders – your line employees, your managers, your sales staff, your leadership team, your customers, and perhaps even vendors or partners that interact with your company on a regular basis. What do they identify as your strengths? How do those positive attributes correlate with the story you seek to craft and share about your brand? The method of gathering the information can take on a variety of forms – from in-person group workshops to individual online surveys or face-to-face conversations.
- Digest and distill. Armed with all this input, the next critical step is to digest it and distill the information as it is appropriate for your brand. What common themes begin to arise? How do those attributes speak to what makes you better or different? How do they help telegraph your importance to the industry and to your customers? What problems do you solve that also represent paint points for everyone from architects, specifiers, and contractors to installers and other construction professionals? While every building products brand has a history and many moving parts, it is important to develop a message hierarchy that highlights and confirms a select group of refined messages. The process to arrive at these messages utilizes specific drivers by analyzing attributes, benefits, value, and proof points for each of the brand’s core audiences. The resulting core messaging is then designed to propel your brand and sit at the very center of your story. The message pillars are the foundation on which a building, or your brand, is built. It must be in place before walls, siding, windows, doors, insulation, plumbing, electrical, and cladding can be installed.
- Build upon your foundation. Once your brand story’s foundational messages are poured and in place, begin erecting the secondary or supporting messages that sit on that foundation. Identify additional examples or sources of authority that drive your point home and add credibility to the story you seek to tell. If your company thrives on innovation and constant improvement, what proof point can you offer to illustrate this? Does your brand hold patents for its products or processes? Have you won awards that demonstrate your expertise? What certifications provide independent, third-party verification of your ability to provide optimal products and services to the industry? Giving such examples only strengthens your brand story.
Driving Adoption and Consistency
Armed with a compelling brand story, your next move is to crystallize those messages and put them in a place where key stakeholders can react to them. It is important to get coalescence and buy-in across key sectors of the organization. Is what you’ve settled on resonating with the leadership team? The sales staff? Employees in general? A trusted customer? Test the messages with these key stakeholders and refine your brand story as appropriate to ensure you have your narrative locked down.
Now comes the part that requires ongoing maintenance and cultivation: Getting your team to adopt the messages and ensure they cascade throughout the organization – your website, social media, marketing and sales collateral, sales presentations, news releases, case studies, white papers, paid advertising creative, and on and on.
You also want to ensure that your sales team is carrying these key messages with them in the field as they engage current customers and prospects. Empower them to do so:
- Brand guide – Consider the creation of a brand guide – electronic or otherwise – that is easily accessible to your sales team, whether they are handling inside sales, exhibiting at trade shows, traveling regularly for customer engagements, or some combination of all of these. The guide should have your key messages all in one place so it is easily digestible. These messages can often sit alongside other brand assets and the rules for their usage, including your color palette, logo, and tagline. Access to these core messages then provides a prompt before a sales call.
- Message training – Training your team to deliver the messages further provides empowerment for them to stay on script. Consider a media training session that is geared toward the delivery of core messaging in an interview. Hire a consultant to help train your team on smart response techniques and on ways to properly deliver core messages. This kind of training has applications well beyond an interview with a reporter. It can help guide your sales team when they are prospecting and when they are at a trade convention representing the brand.
Take the Baton
Ensuring your building products brand remains on message can contribute immensely to awareness, visibility, and growth. Each one of your employees is an ambassador with the ability to deliver your story if you create the right toolbox.
One might sing alto, another soprano, another tenor. They might hit different notes and inject their own personality into how they tell the company’s story.
Orchestrate it such that they are all singing off the same sheet of music.
BLD Marketing has a robust program to help you develop your brand narrative and crystallize your key messages for maximum impact in the construction marketplace. Let us help you tell your story.
BLD Marketing is a results-based, digitally-focused, full-service strategic marketing firm exclusively serving the commercial and residential building materials category.