Can the principles of Ueber-Branding be applied to B2B brands, to elevate them in the minds of professional buyers and make them ‘priceless’ … or at least less dependent on price? That’s a question we get asked quite a bit. The short answer is “Absolutely, Yes!” … But, we know, people are hungry for examples that illustrate the point, that talk about an industry “that is not sexy or high tech” and about “small companies with limited budgets.” That’s because many marketers feel that they are working in a commodity category and/or products that can not be differentiated due to lack of funds. We, however, have not encountered a category or company, yet, that would not be able to execute- and benefit from Ueber-Branding*.
How about a medium-sized paper- and envelope manufacturer (2017 revenue est. $230 mio) that supplies people who design and print mailers, brochures, catalogs and the like. Does that sound B2B, small, ‘commoditized’ enough?** Some might even argue it sounds like a category doomed to die in a digital world.
Well – in this interview we talk with Christopher Harrold about how Mohawk Fine Paper is not only surviving but thriving, by “finding meaning in the making of paper”*** and passing it on through the products their business clients print on or wrap in. Christopher is the Creative Director at Mohawk and tells us that craft-fully made paper can make you “feel the message before you read it.” – And that is an experience that is increasingly valuable in our sensation-deprived. One shouldn’t be surprised, then, that digital platforms and tech companies are a fast growing customer segment and that clients are willing to pay a significant premium for paper well crafted.
But as you will hear, getting there required a deep believe that paper making is a craft worth preserving – since 1931 – as well as investing time and effort into Ueber-Branding, including deeply understanding the needs of your most devoted users (your ‘Ueber-Target’), educating, enabling and seducing them (versus selling to them) and having patience in developing trust-based relationships, products and services for the long run. We also talk about potential sources of brand strength that are still largely untapped, like a mythical place of provenance and about the logic and fit of a very recent extension into the business-to-consumer space.
FURTHER THOUGHTS AND READING:
*For insights into what drives the success of modern premium brands read our book “Rethinking Prestige Branding – Secrets of the Ueberbrands” and other case-studies on this blog.
If you want us to help you elevate your own brand, then write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
**If you want more paper industry ‘Ueber-Brand’ examples, then listen to our interview with the CEO of Renova, a premium (any quirky) toilet paper maker from Portugal or the episode with the co-founder of Moleskine – those little black notebooks with a lot of (hi-)story. If you are more into the service kind-of-boring, read our case study on Vanguard Investments.
*** Quote from the Mohawk ‘Declaration of Craft’ video – see links below
Here is a link to the Mowhawk website note how they seek to bring the rich experience of paper to live on a digital screen…
See how the Mohawk Fine Paper brochure is a design project in itself. This one was featured in Communication Arts.