Branding in 3D printing is as important as it sounds. In this blog post, I tried to explain different definitions and steps that could help you in branding your 3D printing service.
Also in the post How to market for 3D printing business? we talked about how to attract new customers for your 3D printing service business that we suggest you read.
What is a brand?
A brand is a combination of activities, the service you provide or produce that distinguishes you from the rest of businesses and attracts a specific target market. It includes your website design, logo, even the color of your brand, how you interact with customers, and your mission.
Why Invest in brand identity
The brand identity is what differentiates you from other companies. Your brand identity makes your brand recognizable and unique. It also makes it easier for your customers to buy your service or product as they know what makes your brand different from the others and what features and benefits it has. Defining a value for your brand and what it stands for are important advantages leading to more awareness, customer loyalty and results in more sales.
Use every opportunity to stay in your customers’ minds.
Spread your brand ideas over and over.
Understand the customer’s values and needs.
Identify the touchpoints (situations where a customer needs 3D printing service in his/her business.)
To do all these in a regulated manner, you need to educate yourself or your marketing team in different branding areas; we try to convey the most important parts of the process for a 3D Printing company in this article.
Major steps for creating your brand
Specify your target market
The first step for branding is to specify your target market: Who are you planning to provide service for? Automobile industry or medical equipment providers?
Afterward, get into more details and specify which parts of this business you aim to provide service for; e.g. if you are trying to provide service for the medical equipment industry you have to specify what is your field of expertise, is it orthopedics or dentistry, dental implant or orthopedic?
Next, determine what kind of companies are predicted to be your major target market, is it the small to medium size medical equipment companies or you are aiming for large companies?
One of the strong technics in this process is creating a persona(s) for your customer.
What is a persona?
A persona is a profile of your typical customer. This persona helps your customer managers know your possible customers’ characteristics, needs, behavior, and goals of a specific type of user and client. Since 3D printing is usually a B2B kind of business, you can create different personas of the businesses you aim to provide service for.
Pick up a proper name
Choosing a name for a brand might not seem very important at first sight, but it is one of the important elements that can make your brand stick into the minds of your audience and also depict your brand’s mission.
There are different ways you can choose a name for a 3D printing business. One new way is using AI-Powered tools that suggest names based on your preferences. One of these tools is “namelix”, click on the link to start the process:
Either using an automated tool like “namelix”, choosing it yourself, or a mix of the two, you have a few strategies in generating a brand name.
Strategies to choose a brand name
- Coining: Making up a new word like Coca-cola
- Use a metaphor, like Desktop Metal
- Describe it literally (caution: easy to imitate), like 3D Systems
- Create a new word by removing letters, adding letters, or using Latin endings, like Tumblr (Tumbler) or Activia.
- Create an acronym from a longer name, like HBO
- Combine two words, like Autodesk
Characteristics of a proper brand name
keep it short
A short name makes it easier for people to remember. Most successful brands have short names. This is the same with 3D printing with we are living in a branded world and it is harder than ever to keep a long name in mind.
Originality is one of the important factors in choosing a brand name. Search before finalizing your brand name and make sure it does not represent other brands or services.
Make sure it’s easy to spell
Spelling is another important factor for choosing a name. Avoid using names that can be written in different ways or are not written the way they are pronounced; these spelling complications will have negative effects on your website or socialƒvoxejl media views. For e.g. “materialise” which is a very well-known brand in the field of 3D printing service is mistakenly written as “materialize” by many clients.
Doesn’t restrict growth
Choose a name that does not restrict you so you have to change it later. A good example for this is 3dhubs which later had to omit “3D” from the beginning of its brand and now the brand name is simply “hubs”.
Easy to pronounce
Say the word loud to see if it is easy to pronounce.
Your chosen name should sound good on the phone or in verbal conversations. In addition, if you are planning to build an international brand, find out if you can pronounce the name you have chosen in other languages as well. Voxeljet is a very successful additive manufacturing service provider, but the pronunciation of the brand name might seem difficult for people other than Germany/North Europe.
Choose a name that is memorable and easy to remember.
Related to the service you provide
Think about famous brands in 3D printing including materialise, proto labs ( leaving an impression for prototypes)., etc. They all leave an impression on 3D printing in their own way. It is better than the name you choose is related to the 3D printing service.
One of the things that help you pick up the right name for your brand is creating a list of the names you have in mind and giving scores for each item on a scale of 1 to 10. Then you can choose the ones which have the highest rate and decide more easily. Below is a sample list that follows this pattern for choosing a name.
Create your slogan
A slogan is a short descriptive statement that is catchy and leaves a strong impression. Slogans can communicate your values, your mission, and they can also be used in advertisement and marketing. There are different characteristics that a good slogan must have :
- Well-remembered and short: The slogan you use should be as short as possible and easy to remember. Avoid using complicated statements the more simple it is the more it will be remembered.
- Catchy: You probably know about the importance of an eye-catching slogan, take your time and choose a catchy one.
- Eccentric: The name you choose should be unique in terms of selling your product. It does not necessarily mean nobody has ever used it before it is more about paying attention to what makes you different from other 3D printing services. The speed or accuracy of the 3D printing service you offer can be mentioned in your slogan.
- Addressing your target market: You should always have your target audience in mind, write your slogan while taking the audience’s needs in mind. E.g, if you are working more with the airplane industry the accuracy of the prints is very important so you can mention it in your slogan.
Choose a color for your brand
Each and every color evokes different emotions. It also tells a lot about your brand’s personality.The brain reads the color after shape and before the content and it is instantly stimulated by that. In order to choose a suitable color, you should know color theory and what message or feeling each color has and and what “you” want to convey to your customers.
Researchers found out each color has different effects on people’s moods, feelings, and behaviors. Although your feelings are mostly personal and affected by your personal experience and culture, below are some of the connations that each color give to a large number of people and what they are colors are known for.
Positive connotations: Elegance, attractiveness and sophistication. Negative: Aggression, fear, and despair.
Positive connotations: Elegance, attractiveness and sophistication.
Negative connotations: Aggression, fear, and despair.
Positive connotations: Excitement and Energy, passion, desire, power
Negative connotations: Aggression, Danger, warning
Positive connotations: purity, innocence, simplicity, minimalism, freshness
Negative connotations: boring, cold, isolated
Positive connotations: Reliability, calmness, stability, security
Negative connotations: sadness, loneliness, gloominess
Positive connotations: representing nature, motivating, calming
Negative connotations: jealousy, physical illness
There are many other colors you can use naturally; regarding the formal essence of additive manufacturing these colors are used more by fellow brands.However, it is always up to you, and sometimes a less common color sticks in the customer’s mind because of its uniqueness and vibrant entity.
Questions to ask yourself before choosing the color
- Does the color have positive connotations in the target markets?
Any color has a different connotation in different contexts and countries and cultures. It might seem impossible to literally have everyone and each country in mind, but paying attention to your major target audience’s needs can help you a lot in choosing the right one.
- Did you consider a formulated color?
- Is it in line with your strategies?
- Is it challenging to get the right color?
- Have you tested that on different monitors PCs and Mac?
- Have you developed both a web palette and a print palette?
- Can they be reproduced?
Design a logo
“The logo is the gateway to the brand.” Milton Glaser, Designer.
Your brand logo matters a lot, you can recruit a professional graphic designer or use different platforms which offer you AI-powered logo designs. Your brand logo tells a lot about your brand; designers try to process meaning into visual form and expression and impress the audience and also convey the brand’s message to the customers. Note that these messages should be explained so they could be understood.
Characteristics of suitable 3D printing brand logo
The right shape
Choosing the right shape is very important, certain emotions are evoked by certain shapes. A triangle lives a different impression from a rectangle; so choose the right shape based on the feeling you want to give to the possible customers. For 3D printing business note that many 3D printing brands such as 3D Systems and Voxeljet brought the 3D entity of their business into their logo designs by adding 3D cubes in their logos.
The right color
In the last section about colors, the basics of color theory and its effect on customers were discussed. Here, you have to take it into account when designing your logo. Light or navy blue-black and green are the dominant colors used in 3D printing brand logos.
The right typography
The way texts look affects the customers’ perception of your brand. Typography contains all the visual choices of the name including font, size, boldness the writing format, etc. Most 3D printing companies have medium-sized non-cursive typographies.
The right tone
It is important to set the tone of your brand before launching your logo. You can see how the logo brand for M&Ms is different from The Guardian newspaper. M&M uses a mascot while guardian’s design is minimal and formal. Regarding the fact that in 3D printing business you mostly offer a b2b service , the tone is usually formal and the logo designs are suggested to be minimal.
Take social media and online platforms seriously
Now that you created your brand and defined your mission, you should launch it on social media. Online platforms and social media have dramatically altered branding in recent years; the customers are now active participants in brand building with “sharing”, tagging, etc; this way, they remain active in the process. Moreover, the pandemic deprived many people and businesses to market their brand other methods like meeting and reaching their probable customers through exhibitions and seminars, so the role of social media has increased even more.You can use many platforms. Contacting and staying with your possible customers is an important step of your 3D printing branding pathway. There are platforms like LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, meetup(meetup.com),etc. in which you can share your designs, products, and videos and there is also a platform which is exclusively designed for 3D printing businesses named treatstock (www.treatstock.com)
3D printing service Touchpoints
Brand touch is interactions that a customer has with a brand. Note that each touchpoint is a brand experience so enhancing touchpoints results in a better brand experience.
These touchpoints include Websites, blogs, news releases, FAQs, Call centers, Sales, youtube videos, presentations, announcements, emails advertising, and packaging which are all very important in a 3D printing service.
pre- and post-sale touchpoints
The pre-touch points are touchpoints before you make the sales and post-sales are touchpoints after you make the sales. Below is a table showing touchpoints in different parts of making sales.
Packaging is one of the important touchpoints especially in a 3D printing service; probably most of your clients printed objects are packed and sent to them. These packages also mean that this is the brand that the customer trusted enough to bring to their address. The packaging shapes, box sizes, graphics, and colors comfort and persuade customers if they made the right decision.
Brand voice is the personality of your brand, the way you communicate with your customers, the language you use, etc. in order to create a memorable experience. Your brand voice makes you distinctive and different from your competitors. Invest in your brand voice and keep it consistent throughout your branding.
Now you know enough about 3D printing branding and the steps you have to take. Remember that 3D printing business is a growing market and you can expect a rising profit in the upcoming years. Good luck and enjoy the business!