For years the container shipping lines have been lambasted for offering the same services, concentrating too much on cost-saving efficiencies and not enough on customer service.
They have responded with solutions that range from faster ocean transits with HMM’s Asia Express, Maersk’s online platform and fixed prices, to integrating landside logistics with Ocean Alliance’s new product launch.
While forwarders could not be criticised for their customer service, the fact remains that traditional sea and air freight is being commoditised and offers little hope for sustainable growth.
Too many forwarders websites still communicate similar messages and lists of services, which simply reinforce the commoditisation effect and profit erosion that follows.
The smart forwarders are the ones that have discovered the easy way to attract, engage and win new customers, without actually changing anything.
Branding (which can be as simple as a unique name) is an easy way to differentiate your expertise and appeal to new segments, without actually changing anything.
It’s why we take time getting to know new clients, looking for anything novel, different, or just interesting. Because a single benefit or feature is all it takes to create a ‘unique’ offering.
Brands give you the distinct competitive advantage of market authority.
We’ve created a brand and new service product for a client that’s simply based on a report they used internally.
On the day of its launch it generated ten direct enquiries and 65 leads.
Your brand challenge
Select a vertical, or even better a niche, and consider what you do to add value at origin and destination, and anything else you can take on and simplify.
Then audit the processes and procedures that deliver the service: from finding and converting customers; to implementing them; and the service experience.
This exercise will show you how narrowly defined your services need to be in order to be truly productised.
You may well uncover subsets of these existing services that could be spun off into sub-set brands and delivered as productised services.
Once started you will find that you have developed capabilities that can deliver more value to the target market, creating even more opportunities for cross-selling more complex offerings.
The reason why developing a productised service is the perfect opportunity, is because your competitors may be doing the same thing without highlighting the value.
While the rest are chasing after quote opportunities or knocking on doors, you can use your brand to optimise your web site and win new customers.
Why be the same as everyone else when customers love brands that imply:
Reliability – you can trust this brand Efficiency – branding it means It works Dependability – delivered by experts