4 Communications Tips for Manufacturing Companies

As the man­u­fac­tur­ing space enters what some have called a “gold­en age,” the indus­try remains com­pet­i­tive, chal­leng­ing and ever-chang­ing. In such a land­scape, man­u­fac­tur­ers ben­e­fit from an increased focus on com­mu­ni­ca­tions and pub­lic rela­tions to grow their busi­ness, dif­fer­en­ti­ate them­selves from com­peti­tors, recruit and retain employ­ees and so much more.

As one of the top 20 largest indus­tri­al PR firms in the Unit­ed States, Bell­mont Part­ners knows a thing or two about how to sup­port man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pa­nies’ pub­lic rela­tions efforts. Read on for four tried and true com­mu­ni­ca­tions tips tai­lored specif­i­cal­ly to manufacturers.

Tip #1 – Strong Teams, Strong Brand

Before look­ing out­ward, look inward. Often, the best way to be suc­cess­ful is by cre­at­ing a cul­ture that encour­ages team­work, which starts at the top. To build trust and an envi­ron­ment that encour­ages col­lab­o­ra­tion and inno­v­a­tive, strate­gic risk-tak­ing, it’s impor­tant that your team feels in the loop as to leadership’s vision. Don’t over­look the impor­tance of inter­nal com­mu­ni­ca­tions in ensur­ing your entire team is up-to-speed with updates, aligned on goals and under­stands the deci­sions your lead­er­ship team is making.

We find that change man­age­ment – fre­quent inter­nal com­mu­ni­ca­tions around changes at your com­pa­ny – is an under-uti­lized com­mu­ni­ca­tions tool. There’s a say­ing that peo­ple “pre­fer the cer­tain­ty of mis­ery over the mis­ery of uncer­tain­ty” – if your com­pa­ny is under­go­ing any changes, large or small, it’s like­ly you’ll receive some push­back from employ­ees who are ner­vous about some aspect of the deci­sion. Stop fear­mon­ger­ing in its tracks with proac­tive, clear and fre­quent mes­sag­ing around not only the change itself, but also the ben­e­fits and rea­son­ing behind it.

Beyond change man­age­ment, think of your employ­ees as your best brand ambas­sadors: a built-in group of peo­ple who want to see your com­pa­ny suc­ceed. Help them spread the word about your company’s good by craft­ing a set of social media best prac­tices and guide­lines to encour­age employ­ees to re-share com­pa­ny news and announce­ments with their net­works, ampli­fy­ing your reach.

Addi­tion­al­ly, inter­nal recog­ni­tion pro­grams – whether for­mal month­ly or quar­ter­ly hon­ors for out­stand­ing job per­for­mance or more infor­mal “fun” awards like the famous “Dundies” from The Office – go a long way in mak­ing employ­ees feel appre­ci­at­ed and val­ued, aid­ing with retention.

Once every­one is pulling in the same direc­tion, you’ll find you can get back to busi­ness faster and poten­tial­ly even reach goals in an accel­er­at­ed timeframe.

Tip #2 – High­light Your Prod­ucts in Action

As a man­u­fac­tur­er, you get to cre­ate a phys­i­cal prod­uct – show it off!

No mat­ter how niche your prod­uct is, there is like­ly some way to show how it’s used. Whether it’s a skin­care prod­uct a con­sumer uses every morn­ing, a water pump for indus­tri­al set­tings or any­thing in between, there’s always a way to show how your prod­uct is used in action, show­cas­ing its rel­e­vance and value.

When­ev­er you can, encour­age your end-users to share how they use the prod­uct. You could try a con­test to encour­age users to post pho­tos or videos of your prod­uct on social media or work with influ­encers in your space to pro­mote your prod­ucts. These types of posts often hold even more weight as it comes from real users shar­ing their hon­est expe­ri­ences with your product.

Bonus pro tip: When pos­si­ble, give a peek into your man­u­fac­tur­ing process as well. Peo­ple LOVE to see man­u­fac­tur­ing process videos – the show “How It’s Made” has 32 sea­sons and 300+ episodes for a rea­son! Of course, some process­es may be con­sid­ered trade secrets, but con­sid­er find­ing and shar­ing videos of process­es that aren’t.

Tip #3 – Local Efforts Can Help Recruitment

It’s no secret that the labor mar­ket is extreme­ly com­pet­i­tive right now, regard­less of what cor­ner of the U.S. you’re in, par­tic­u­lar­ly for man­u­fac­tur­ers whose plants are locat­ed in a small town or rur­al area. Local media rela­tions efforts – reach­ing out to your local news­pa­per, TV or radio sta­tion – can go a long way in reach­ing poten­tial new employ­ees and keep­ing your com­pa­ny top-of-mind in your com­mu­ni­ty and sur­round­ing areas.

Even short blurbs about a new lead­er­ship team hire, com­pa­ny mile­stone, vol­un­teer activ­i­ty, or upcom­ing events show that your com­pa­ny has momen­tum, pos­i­tive change or invests in its employ­ees – pro­vid­ing anoth­er touch­point for job­seek­ers and keep­ing your com­pa­ny top-of-mind.

Beyond media rela­tions, spend some time dig­ging into local pro­grams or orga­ni­za­tions you could get involved with, such as school dis­tricts, state employ­ment offices or cham­bers of com­merce and more. These groups often have a wealth of resources and oppor­tu­ni­ties for pub­lic­i­ty, recruit­ment, net­work­ing and more. You nev­er know who you’ll meet or what resources you may not yet be lever­ag­ing to your advantage.

Last, giv­ing back to your local com­mu­ni­ty and show­ing how you are invest­ing in your employ­ees builds affin­i­ty for your com­pa­ny, even among audi­ences who are not famil­iar with your work. Espe­cial­ly in small com­mu­ni­ties, your rep­u­ta­tion is every­thing. Don’t just talk the talk about being a great place to work – walk the walk, too!

Tip #4 – Don’t Neglect Your Online Presence

Even if you don’t sell your prod­ucts direct­ly to con­sumers, hav­ing an updat­ed, pro­fes­sion­al dig­i­tal foot­print is valu­able. As sup­ply chain pro­fes­sion­als, job seek­ers and con­sumers trend younger, they increas­ing­ly expect your com­pa­ny to show up in a Google search with a typo-free web­site that con­tains the infor­ma­tion they’re look­ing for.

Although your web­site may be extreme­ly detailed if you’re run­ning an e‑commerce busi­ness, a good web­site could be as sim­ple as a land­ing page with (accu­rate!) basic infor­ma­tion about your com­pa­ny and a Con­tact Us form. Regard­less of whether it’s com­plex or sim­ple, make sure it’s acces­si­ble for all users – check out the World Wide Web Consortium’s web acces­si­bil­i­ty resources here.

Nev­er under­es­ti­mate the val­ue of social media, too – this is a great place to share pho­tos of com­pa­ny events, updates and more, which con­tin­ues to show­case why your com­pa­ny is a great place to work (again, help­ing with reten­tion and recruit­ment). Employ­ees’ net­works like to see them in your pho­tos, as well – you may be sur­prised just how many likes and re-shares the pho­tos from your com­pa­ny potluck get from employ­ees’ fam­i­lies and friends.

We get it – run­ning a man­u­fac­tur­ing plant is hard work with a lot of mov­ing pieces. Pub­lic rela­tions and com­mu­ni­ca­tions might be the last thing on your mind! That’s why choos­ing the right com­mu­ni­ca­tions part­ner can help turn things around.

Get in touch with us today at info@bellmontpartners.com and we’d be hap­py to cre­ate a com­pre­hen­sive pub­lic rela­tions and com­mu­ni­ca­tions strat­e­gy that address­es your company’s spe­cif­ic needs and challenges.

Leave a Reply