The relationship between manufacturers and distributors is like milk and honey… cookies and cream… tequila and lime (hold the worm). These entities work in harmony and even complement each other. But the relationship between the two is evolving as more and more manufacturers choose to go directly to the consumer—effectively bypassing distributors. And the elephants in the room such as Amazon and Walmart are shipping products directly to their customers. Consumers welcome the convenience of having their packages delivered directly to their doorstep. Oftentimes, they receive tracking notifications and even up-to-the-minute alerts showing the package on a map and what time it can be expected to arrive.
You can almost have anything delivered to you. Think about it… Try to think of any product right now that you couldn’t have shipped directly to you by ordering it online… Well, clearly there are still some industries where manufacturers rely on distributors… such as the beverage, timber and furniture industries. Nevertheless, change is happening, and the speed of manufacturing and distribution is literally changing the game. This makes it important for both manufacturers and distributors to have their customers remember who they are.
smart branding begins with being memorable
How we human beings remember things is fascinating. Both short-term and long-term memory are being studied by experts all over the world… But memory research has been conducted for centuries. One of the earliest ways of remembering things has been through storytelling. Our ancient ancestors sat around the fire and told bedtime stories. Sometimes these stories told our history. Sometimes they recounted the exciting events of the day… Perhaps a great hunting trip or crossing paths with traveling strangers.
Today is no different. We hear our families’ “old” stories shared again and again. We tell our own stories about vacations, scoring the winning goal, the birth of our children and the time the car broke down during a snowstorm. And oftentimes the stories become more elaborate as the versions are passed down. Stories captivate us, and there is recent evidence that suggests we are hard wired to both listen to and tell stories.
All our communication is based upon storytelling. When we first meet someone, we ask their name. Then we might ask where they come from… Or the type of work they do. A few questions later, and the conversation turns into comparing college experiences, sharing family photos and talking about common interests or conquests. There is a rhythm and pace to our storytelling. And when we become so intertwined with another person, we can literally complete their sentences.
storytelling is smart branding
The ability to communicate and tell a story through branding or marketing is what separates success from failure. This is true for both B2B and B2C businesses. Consumers everywhere are bombarded with dozens, even hundreds, of messages every day. The ones that are special stand out…
A manufacturer with a conscience.
A distributor doing everything they can to lower carbon emissions.
Having a superior product (or service) does not always guarantee success. These days, it’s just not enough. The manufacturers and distributors that communicate a memorable story are the ones that will survive this digital age. And the stories are inevitably changing.
For instance, Nike’s famous “Just Do It” campaign is evolving. Today, Nike doesn’t just tell you to “do it.” It shows you how others are doing it. How people are overcoming their fears… How people are making tough decisions… or sacrificing fame or fortune for principles and authenticity. “Just Do It” is evolving right before our eyes with compelling stories of people doing extraordinary things.
Nike is at it again in conjunction with the NCAA basketball tournaments. If you have watched any of the games, you will notice teams are wearing t-shirts with the word “Family” printed prominently on the front. Now, this makes sense at first glance because being on a team is like being in a family. However, the opposing team is wearing the same t-shirt with its own logo on it. Brilliant… Nike has taken the word “Family” and provided several messages and stories that we all can relate to. Families love. Families fight. But they also support each other… And stay together. The message is that the entire NCAA is a family. Every team—and its fans, too—is part of their family… even though they are all competing for the National Championship. Sibling rivalry anyone?
The ability to tell a story can go a long way in helping people remember—and choose—manufacturers and distributors. Discrete and targeted messaging is how smart branding is being conducted today.
Manufacturing with purpose.
want help telling your story?
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