By the Numbers: More to Branding Than Size

The security industry is unique. How many industries comprise thousands of companies that offer risk, investigative, monitoring and guard services; mechanical, electromechanical and electronic products; and integrated systems of a scale and complexity that can challenge the most advanced technologist?

When a supplier decides to enter the industry, it usually does so with a new product technology, a strong brand name or a combination of both. The technology company needs to become known to distributors, dealers, integrators and users that comprise its potential customers.

The big brand company may not have that problem. But if security is a new business category for the big brand, that company needs to connect its security offering to its name. Without that connection, what power does the brand have?

Bigger Doesn’t Mean Better

Are there suppliers in the security industry that trade on the strength of their brand names but later become disappointed in the modest success they achieve? Apparently there are.

Here’s an analysis comparing two security manufacturers. One is a major global brand as demonstrated by the 81 percent of security users who are aware of it. The other is a smaller, less-known company. The major brand receives an overall business quality rating of 2.89 out of a possible 5 by a nationwide user panel (see chart). The smaller company receives a quality rating of 3.75 by the 48 percent of users who know of it.

The major brand appears to have a security image problem that needs correcting. However, the more important point is that big brands alone do not guarantee security industry success. The proof lies in the user ratings of the medium brand. With a quality rating of 3.75 out of a possible 5, this is a relatively high user rating. No company in the industry reaches a 4. It suggests there is no single security supplier anywhere with the one-stop answers users want.

Users also rated the brand strength of the two companies. Among the 48 percent of users aware of the medium brand company, 31 percent of them regard it as the strongest company in its particular product category. Yet not one user feels the same way about the major brand — despite the fact that user awareness is so much higher.

Strength in Field Operations

So what advantage does the big brand have when trying to influence security users? After all, the big brand didn’t get big through incompetent management. The answer lies in coordinated field operations.

The great leveler in communicating the strengths and weaknesses of security products is primarily the work of security integrators, dealers, distributors and sales representatives. Security manufacturers still need to coordinate their advertising, publicity, and training with their field sales efforts to successfully tell their stories in today’s marketplace.

The medium brand in our example does that well. Imagine the growth potential that company will have if it continues to raise its user awareness by 60 percent, then 70 percent, then 80 percent.

And the major brand? It still comes down to understanding the uniqueness of the physical security industry and building credibility with middlemen who know how to build another success story.

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