more mergers and acquisitions on the horizon: are you prepared?

The feed basket still seems to be strapped to many companies across the construction industry as they continue to search for the best places to invest their profits. It remains obvious that rapid spikes in success are still preferred over organic growth, with many companies willing to pay a premium for the proven performer.

As this plays out, the big deals seem to only get bigger. Take a look at the $2.6 billion purchase by Beacon of Allied. The combination will create a $7 billion industry player, putting the conglomerate just under ABC Supply. On the other end of the spectrum, other companies seem to be buying smaller competitors or channel partners at a rapid rate. These often seem to be efforts to strengthen their foundation on long-term strategies or simply protecting interests with their key customers.

Prediction #2: more m&a opportunities can create pressure to grow irresponsibly

Your competitive landscape is likely changing a lot (and we haven’t even touched on the potential disruptor threats). Also, the downward pressure of commoditizing your offering is likely being felt more than ever. If you find yourself nodding your head yes right now, here are a couple of suggestions to help you fight off that pressure and grow your brand’s value among your customers.

leverage your brand’s differentiation

The most vital suggestion focuses on the responsibility of the brand steward: stay true to and leverage your brand’s differentiation. Beyond the obvious, be sure you’re using everything in your arsenal to maximize your brand’s value.

A few overlooked components include:

  • Your Corporate Brand: In our space, much of the messaging centers around product attributes and their inherent benefits. But today, particularly in relationship to content within your CRM and marketing automation programs, there’s a valuable place for you to connect the relevant assets associated with your corporate brand. They could be associated with important trust or innovation strengths, or maybe heritage or channel-related benefits. Regardless, bring the power of your corporate brand into the customer journey where it’s appropriate and provides you with an edge that your competitors cannot, or are not, exploiting.
  • Your Service Components: A trend we’ve noticed during our one-on-one interviews with building products purchasing influencers and decision makers surrounds one of the top reasons they switch brands or show loyalty to a brand. It’s not the small difference in the depth of some connector that makes it 8% faster to install. It’s likely because your company has made significant investments in technology, logistics management or other aspects of operations that make your company easier to work with day-in and day-out. And, it’s these service-related investments that are benefiting the customer in more intrinsic ways and truly setting you apart from your top competition.
  • Down-Channel Benefits: When it comes to differentiating your brand with larger channel customers who are pressing the commodity measures, be sure they see and feel the value your brand delivers to their customers or the end-users. The important thing here is “see and feel.” Simply telling them is usually not enough. Make sure product reviews are being read. If your packaging does a far better job at reducing damage or makes for easing clean-up on the site, prove and share that information. Find unique ways to bring their customer’s voice into the conversation and let those voices become advocates for your brand with your customers.

No doubt, the landscape you play in today will be vastly different from the market we expect to see tomorrow. Hopefully these points will help you evolve your brand and stay relevant as the shifts continue to happen throughout the rest of 2018.

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