We see it over and over again. Large bio-tools companies are often cited in surveys by market research participants as the suppliers of research products that they don’t even sell. What is this telling us? The cynical might think it means researchers are just clicking on buttons to get to the end of the survey – and we know that does sometimes happen. But when all the other answers to all the other questions seem to make sense (i.e. not the pattern of random clicking) then it means something else is going on. We at Percepta believe it is a function of brand awareness.

Bio-tools companies that have very high brand awareness get more than their share of credit from the research community. That is because these companies are “first to mind” for many researchers when making a mental list of who might have a specific product offering. That perception may not even be accurate if the company does not sell that particular product, but brand awareness can bring potential customers to a web site before they even look at search engine results.

So what’s a niche company to do? You have the product the customer is looking for but they are looking on some big bio-tools company web site. The error many smaller companies make is to focus too much on selling (tactics) and ignore completely brand. That is because many people don’t understand the power of a brand platform. The brand platform is the road-map to brand consistency. It includes several important elements of your brand architecture and will guide all internal and external brand messages. Many may not remember when Invitrogen was a small and virtually unknown company – but 15 years ago that’s what they were. They started a brand building campaign that began in the mid 90’s and continued to evolve as the company evolved. Today as part of Life Technologies they are one of the most recognized brands in the industry. Same story applies to the Qiagen brand. They have consistently built on a brand platform that has allowed them to evolve but yet remain recognizable and true to their brand.

Unless your company has a plan to build a brand platform that will establish brand awareness, your cusotmers will continue to go to who they know. In this game it’s not so much what or who you know – but rather who knows you? If you want help building a brand platform for your biotools company, Percepta can help. Your comments are welcome.