Quill feather

5 Reasons Distributors & Wholesalers Should Focus On Their Own Brands

A myriad of industries use multi-level distribution networks to get products into the hands of customers. Construction materials, food and beverage, consumer packaged goods and even household appliance industries leverage these networks where manufacturers funnel large quantities of products to a partner who is responsible for marketing, advertising, and distributing those products. These streams of flow can be complex business systems to say the least. Between logistics issues, product availability fluctuations or workforce shortages, it can be hard for business leaders to take a step back to think strategically about what makes their brand unique and why anyone should believe in it.

Of course, putting out these daily fires can bog down even the most seasoned leader. However, those who are disciplined and spend the time to think and act strategically to strengthen their company’s DNA will not only find new levels of success through higher customer and employee engagement but will experience a flywheel effect that provides momentum for advocacy and impact. Business doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Business happens between people and when you make the mental shift to realize that your company’s overarching mission is to help people solve a problem, you’ll be steps ahead of competitors who are stuck as reactive order takers.

For wholesalers and distributors, strengthening the brand of the organization you lead should be the reason behind every business decision, especially marketing decisions. Now we know that most distributors and wholesalers are lacking in their marketing department. (If we can even call it a department.) More often than not, the sales manager also holds the marketing manager title even if they possess little to no formal background in marketing. Their days revolve around promoting the brands distributed by the company leaving the brand of their company to play second fiddle. They push down promotions from manufacturers and track the sales team, but are they doing anything to improve the distributor’s brand perception? Are there any active efforts to improve the customer experience? Is there anything being done to improve the experience of being an employee? If this seems like a daunting task, we can help.

In this blog, we’ll share five reasons why leading a brand with intention will provide value beyond the surface-level appearance. Following that, we’re going to outline core elements that should be defined in order to create a successful brand position and company identity for you as a wholesaler or distributor.

5 Reasons to Focus on Wholesaler and Distributor Branding

There are many reasons why having a strong brand and brand position will elevate the organization’s value. We’re going to outline 5 benefits specific to wholesalers and distributors that you can look forward to once you discover your unique brand position and highlight it through the brand experience.

  1. Provides increased company equity for investors, acquisitions, or succession planning.
    According to Reuters, 82% of investors see brand strength as an important factor in their investment decisions. Ensuring your wholesale or distribution company has a bulletproof brand will provide value in the eyes of investors and stakeholders alike.
  2. Creates a platform to stand on that’s not dependent on brands you distribute.
    This one is huge. When you allow your brand to be in the spotlight, you let your customers get to know you rather than just being seen as the delivery guy. You also give prospects a reason to buy from you. Chances are, they can get products or services just like yours from other distributors. You need to show them why you’re the right choice and give them a reason to believe in the relationship beyond the transaction.
  3. Strengthens the company through changing market conditions.
    The brands you carry may change. Suppliers and manufacturers adjust their networks constantly. We want to ensure that your organization’s brand has enough pull in the market so you can weather any storm that comes your way.
  4. Provides a foundation for private label product lines.
    If your ultimate goal is to create your own product lines to grow the bottom line, you will need to have a brand foundation for private labeling. We see this all the time with major grocery chains. Their own product lines are positioned to cut the competition and get the best seat on the shelves. All of their products are consistently labeled and are created as a sub-brand of the chain.
  5. Provides a stronger platform for talent attraction and retention.
    Now more than ever, people are looking for a strong culture, a strong sense of purpose and reason to believe. Does your branding show them what you’re all about? If it’s hard to understand the positive impact your company provides, your chances of receiving quality applicants are slim. Once you have great people on your team, providing a clear rally cry or purpose to follow will keep them engaged so they’ll show up to work each day as their best self.

Core Branding Pillars for Wholesalers and Distributors

Once clarity is established within the four areas mentioned below, wholesalers and distributors will reap the benefits of a successful brand.

Competitive Landscape
You must, first and foremost, understand the field your organization plays in. By understanding the competitive landscape, you’ll be able to strategically choose the way you compare your brand to theirs. Not only must you appear visually different, but you must also make sure that the customer experience is different. Conduct your business in a way that breaks the mold and stands out as authentically unique.

Defining Customers
Knowing how your customers tick will play a key role in how you address your relationship with them. If you fully understand what things they’re up against on a daily basis, you’ll have a better chance of stepping in to guide them to success in a meaningful way. If your company has different segments of customers, we suggest creating buyer personas for each segment since they might need to be treated or marketed to differently.

Strategic Offering
Understanding that you must fulfill deliveries on time, each wholesaler or distributor has the opportunity to tailor this experience to make it uniquely you. The approach for tailoring the customer experience should be informed by the information gathered on your customer persona and accomplished in a way that connects them to your brand’s unique qualities.

Visual Identity
Consistency is king
when it comes to a company’s brand identity. Having a complete set of graphic elements that are staged for use and documented within a brand identity guidelines can make the difference between a company that appears professional and one that seems amateur. This element of a brand is crucial and can be tough for a marketing professional to create since it takes a special set of skills to develop a successful visual identity for an organization. If your logo or brand identity feels dated or not professional, we can help.

Use our brand positioning check up test to see how your brand scores in these categories.

As a distributor or wholesaler, you are more than the brands you carry. You have the opportunity to provide a unique experience for your customers, suppliers and community. By being intentional with this experience you can enhance your brand, stand out in the market and give your community a reason to believe.