By Charu Malhotra
The steel industry in India, often regarded as a conventional and technical sector, is transforming as the country’s steel production is estimated to grow by 4-7% in FY24. Building on the foundation that India is home to the fifth-largest iron ore reserves in the world, the blueprint of an industry-leading performance is delivering the finest and strongest grade products that add significant value to customer projects.
Moreover, a company can earn a well-deserved reputation for reliability and trust, making excellence synonymous with their brand name by utilising key strategies like:
Shifting from commodity to brand-driven marketing: As the industry evolves in the building material segment, brand equity, awareness and meaningful customer engagement are becoming paramount. Thus, companies are shifting their marketing approach from a commodity-based marketing strategy to a brand-driven one. This shift focuses on cultivating a brand aura that resonates with customers and the masses at the same time. This shift aims to forge a deeper connection with customers by positioning the company at the forefront of nation-building. Additionally, providing customised solutions and excellent customer service further sets a firm apart in a market where standing out is pivotal for success.
Humanising the brand image: In the present day, humanising the brand image is not just a business strategy but a commitment to build genuine and trustworthy connections with customers. Over the next couple of years, enterprises should focus on ingraining sustainability into the very fabric of their brand identity. Especially, any business of massive stature must stand for a larger purpose. Therefore, more and more companies are choosing to be eco-friendly across their manufacturing operations, which also helps in reducing carbon emissions. They should combine traditional and new-age marketing mix, such as TV, digital and print to communicate the technical intricacies of the steel industry, thereby enhancing brand awareness among stakeholders and the masses.
Leveraging brand ambassadors: In a stand-out move, corporations are strengthening customer confidence in their products by aligning the brand image with well-respected and celebrated brand ambassadors. For instance, APL Apollo’s recent partnership with the iconic and legendary Amitabh Bachchan as brand ambassador is acting as a strong connection between the industrial product and a broader audience. These partnerships not only enhance a company’s visibility but also create a sense of trust and authenticity as ambassadors provide a human face to the brand and can connect with consumers on a personal level, further reinforcing the humanisation of the brand image.
Influencer connection: A brand’s marketing strategy focuses heavily on its trustworthy relationship with various channel partners and influencers such as fabricators, contractors, architects, structural consultants, project owners, government specifiers, officials and diplomats. Companies understand this connection’s influence in driving consumer purchase decisions, especially in the B2B-oriented steel industry. Therefore, firms can follow a targeted approach by connecting with the influencers via loyalty and engagement programs.
Digital-first approach: Nowadays, businesses are recognising the significance of crafting a digital identity that resonates with its target audience, creating a lasting impression in the virtual world. Hence, creating informative video content to engage with modern consumers is essential, especially to convey the complexities of the steel industry. Furthermore, using digital platforms to evoke new thoughts and ideas hold transformative potential for any industry in the new digital era.
Thought leadership: Sustainability lies at the core of modern enterprises. Envisioning to become thought leaders, companies are demonstrating a commitment to innovation and a forward-thinking approach. By actively engaging in industry conversations, forward thinkers can share insightful perspectives on the evolving landscape of the industry. Through visionary thinking, brands can inspire change and push the boundaries of what is possible in steel manufacturing. Large-scale businesses can demonstrate expertise in the field by contributing to the advancement of industry standards and best practices via their strong voice of authority. By driving insightful and informative conversations and active participation in industry discussions, companies hope to solidify their position in the industry.
With a continued dedication to the pursuit of excellence and the highest quality standards, along with well-defined marketing strategies, new-age brands are set to play an influential role in shaping the steel industry’s future. As we navigate the evolving landscape of the modern economy, our story serves as a testament to the potential of homegrown companies in driving the country’s development.
The author is chief brand officer and group head marketing at APL Apollo Tubes
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