In 2015 when I took over the reins at EMCS Industries we learned very quickly…
In last month’s blog, I discussed the pandemic nightmare we have all been through over the previous 12 months and the lessons we learned. One of the big take aways was that we had been sadly comfortable in complacency. This realization was the catalyst for us undertaking a brand audit, one of the most beneficial exercises we have completed recently. We wanted to gain a fundamental understanding of where our brand stood as it was currently, and how we evolve in a post COVID-19 world ensuring that our messaging to existing and new customers was clear, concise, and encompassed our values.
We are a well-known company with a legacy of 65 years’ in business and the inventors and manufacturers of a famous antifouling product. However, the challenge was to clearly identify who we are and what we do without causing any confusion. Some in our industry know us as EMCS Industries Ltd, while others refer to us as the name of our product MARELCO™. We are also far more than a name; we are values and outcome driven and that needed to come through in our brand message.
We began this process in the Fall of 2020, which considering it was a COVID-19 year, and we had experienced a severe drain on cash, it sounded like a crazy thing to do. This was the time to keep expenses to an absolute minimum. Our logic, however, was that we had to be way more creative and pivot to new markets. A confusing message would make this a lot harder. We decided to grow out of the COVID era, rather than Turtle and wait for the storm to clear.
You may be curious if you have not done a brand audit before, as to exactly what it involves.
A brand audit evaluates your brand’s position in the marketplace, helps you understand strengths, and weaknesses, and how to deal with them. You will delve into your brand values, mission, company culture, and your company’s internal branding. In other words, you open Pandoras Box and can’t be afraid to face what you find.
The selection of the marketing firm was critically important; they needed to align with our values and, if possible, have considerable experience helping companies like ours in the marine industry. They also needed to be professional and experienced enough to distill all the feedback in such a way that we could make the right non defensive decisions.
After a strong referral from a company based in British Columbia, Canada, that serves the marine industry worldwide, we selected Blue Communications based in the UK. They have helped many well-known companies in the marine industry, and their knowledge was invaluable to our brand audit’s success.
Blue Communications understood that “The marine market is facing seismic change; continued, tight freight rates, an increasing regulatory burden, the ongoing demand for sustainability, growing competition, and advances in technology, connectivity, and digitalization that are driving radical transformation.” As a company, we needed to understand how best we could contribute to this evolution and where we might be falling short. During the audit we:
- Established the performance of our brand.
- Discovered our strengths and weaknesses direct from our customer base.
- Aligned our sales and service strategy more closely with the expectations of our customers.
- Understood our place in the market compared to our competition.
- Learned the importance of internal messaging with our employees.
- Implemented a dedicated marketing team to update and deliver key messaging consistently.
- Created a strategy for updating our branding throughout the company to deliver a clear message that encompasses our company’s history, passion, drive, innovation, and values.
This exercise has set us on the correct course for the post COVID-19 world’s uncharted water. I would highly recommend that all businesses conduct this type of audit periodically. You don’t know what you don’t know.
I want to take this opportunity to thank our customers for taking a significant amount of time to provide this critical feedback. We needed to discover how we can improve to serve you better; we take the feedback extremely seriously, and we can already see the difference. We may manufacture a product, but at the end of the day we are an outcome-based company, and therefore are not focused on the sale and production a product. Our outcomes are customer-driven, we are sure they will begin benefitting as we roll out the red carpet in keeping with our mission.
We are excited about the clear, concise messaging that will start to permeate through all departments, social media, websites, and other marketing material. We feel a new company energy, enthusiasm, and focus after a period of intense disarray.
What some would consider a potential ill-timed expense; has turned into a very worthwhile investment. Thank you to the folks at Blue Communications for the months of effort and the highly professional approach to assisting us with our messaging. Watch this space!
President and CEO