I went through The Rocky Mountains this week, on a trip that started in Chicago. I was returning a vehicle back (home in Seattle) from relatives in suburban Chicago. Along the way I made a few stops, visiting with a few clients and suppliers, etc. I must have passed the signs and billboards of thousands of companies down many streets I have traveled hundreds of times before.
Somewhere along the way I started thinking about the topic of “branding”. I had dinner with and old friend in Denver and we started talking about some of our favorite “brands”. Of course, being we were both from Chicago, we were partial to our teams: Chicago Cubs, Chicago Bears, Chicago Blackhawks and of the “DaBulls”. All of these teams are solid brands. My friend was also Nebraska Cornhusker Fan, and although I can’t relate to that, I do understand the fact that you don’t give up on “your team” when that’s what your team is. Then we got to talking about food, and up came the name Lou Malnati’s Pizza- what a great place. Later on in Denver I had to make it down to El Chapultepec for some live jazz, what a great place. As I approached the tiny bar I had not been to in years, I could see everything around it had changed (due to the monstrous Coors Field across the street) and all sorts of more commercial restaurants and franchise type bars up and down the street. But El Chapultepec was still the same and thank goodness for that.
I know I’m rambling here. But there’s a point.
The next thing I noticed was in my visits to certain suppliers I know. There’s a change in the industry going on and it’s not going to revert backwards. The companies that I visited that are slow also seemed to have no marketing plan, and absolutely no social media marketing program in place. If the quote inquiries aren’t piling up like they used, I would hazard to say that something needs to change. All of this concerns me a little.
Then there are a few of these I have looked up on the internet to see if they have a Twitter account and find out they last tweeted something in 2009……and have 9 followers.
I also heard their complaints about the commodity driven pricing they are forced to work with now from those online villainous companies like VistaPrint.
I feel lucky, kind of like an outsider looking in, I can see the problems this industry faces. If you are not branding and marketing yourself and your company, you are destined to be just selling “ink on paper” and of course, if that’s all you have to offer, it better be cheap. Well if you’ve read this far, you probably “get it”. I don’t know what to say about those others that don’t, other than I can see CLOSED FOR BUSINESS signs in their future. Have a good night now.