Branding is the very first thing that needs to be established when starting any business. However, choosing one is not as easy as it sounds, especially when you look at it in the long term as the very thing that will represent who you are. In this Ask Us Anything episode, Tom Hazzard and Tracy Hazzard answer one of the most asked concerns from entrepreneurs in the 3D print space who are just starting up. They share some of the essentials of creating a 3D print brand while laying out the problems many tend to encounter. Follow along in this great conversation to learn more about where the market is going and how to respond to it in terms of branding.
Listen to the podcast here:
3D Print Branding Problems
This is the Ask Us Anything segment.
This anything is one of our entrepreneur type of business problem anythings which we’ve been trying to do pretty regularly on Tuesdays in general. That’s our day of the week if we have a question, we try to post it that way.
It’s interesting how this one came about too, because we had a meeting with a company that asked us what we thought of their brand.
It’s the third time that somebody has asked us to do that. It’s logos and brands. People are always asking us what we think because our audience is starting. A lot of them are starting, whether you’re starting or you’re getting to the next level in producing but you’re not a hacker. You’re probably not been in it for a long time. I don’t think we have as big an audience on our podcasts for that. Your opinion matters in terms of our listenership. Our view of that and as to what we think you might think about it is a value as well.
The question was more of where do you see the overall 3D printing market going from where it’s been.
The question is, what’s in the name? Is our name good? Is our name having a 3D print brand awareness? Is it going to resonate with the upcoming 3D print market?
Where this market started, desktop 3D printing was definitely much more than the engineering, programmer hacker community and a lot of names came out of that.
Robo 3D. Things that speak of more robotics and drones as much as it does 3D printing. I agree that some of those companies have well-established names and brands in the industry. That’s for the market which has existed for years. I see that while there’s been significant growth in that 3D printing market, and probably will continue to be for quite some time, we see the future market, the real growth being more in consumers that are not of this hacker and engineering community. How does that community respond to those kinds of brands?
After a while, you ignore it. We said all those names and I completely didn’t even say MakerBot but yes, it’s a name that came out of a hacking world. Is it a turn off to new users to the new consumer market? If it’s a hacker, maybe it’s not even good for the prosumer market? Is it not quality enough? There’s a big branding conundrum. It’s an issue that each company is struggling with. It’s struggling with it from, “This is what happens when you establish a name.” We’re having the same issue as well. It’s no big secret that we’ve added our 3D Start Point as our web address and we have WTFFF?! but our real company name is Hazz Design. We had an identity crisis.
We certainly had some brand confusion for a while. When people would come to our old website and it’s all there in one place. Is this the podcast website? Is this the design firm’s website? Is this something else?
We decided to segregate it. That’s what happens here and a lot of companies can do that. You can think about that. If your company’s name is Bot or Hack or whatever is mixed in those names, that doesn’t mean your new products have to be introduced with those names. The products themselves can become entities on their own. They can have a new consumer brand awareness. That may split off from that or a prosumer where it has much more a feel where designers feel it’s going to be more reliable, designer or architectural firm oriented or whatever that might be. You have to start thinking about it both as naming products coming up with new logos.A 3D print product's name should have a resonance with its use and its intent. Click To Tweet
You can create a new brand also to enter a new market. You can have a sub-brand, a parent company, a holding company, and a new brand within. That’s always a tough thing for companies to consider because they think, “I’ve got a lot of equity in my brand. I’ve already got a big list of users.” You do, but those are probably not the new customers that are emerging. It’s not where the big market in the future would be.
There are a few things from our extensive experience working with a lot of big brands and we’ve worked with companies that have done tons of branding research on whether or not their brand name even matters when you get into an Amazon or a Walmart situation. You get into the mass market and if that’s your goal with your program, your printer, or your company in general, what do people think of that? We have a lot of background in analyzing that and understanding what that means. In this particular case, I have to say that for the most part, people don’t care about the brand name of a product. A product’s name has a resonance to its use and its intent, and that matters so you want to express that so you don’t want it.
If your focus is on a prosumer market and your name implies bits and pieces, and it’s been put together or whatever those kinds of things might be. It’s bits and bytes, or whatever those things are. It might have a negative connotation to that market because the last thing that that prosumer wants to think about is something that maybe they might have to put together to fix, repair or it might be too hackable. That might not be what they’re looking for at that prosumer level. They are looking for something technical, high end, and professional grade.
The future market of the big opportunity for 3D printed products and maybe to a certain extent, future 3D printers as well. You always compare them to the sewing machine market. That consumer wants to be able to make anything they want to make things useful to them that are personalized to them, it means something. They don’t care that it’s a 3D printer, an FFF printer, an SLA printer or it’s using PLA, ABS, or whatever. They don’t get that technical. Brand names that speak more to the opportunity that they have to make something unique and one of a kind, but with the quality of something that may have been mass-produced in the past. That’s what’s going to get consumers excited. How does your name resonate with that audience?
That’s on a product name level. We were talking about that. The product name has to express what the biggest target market that you’re going after and also what’s special about you. I want to emphasize that. What is unique and special about you? If it doesn’t express that, then it’s too generic. It’s like the Pro 3000.
I’m also thinking about Home Improvement, the Binford 6100. It was always the Binford 6100 whether it was a new saw or screwdriver.
That’s fine if all you’re trying to do is build your company awareness. You want to do the MakerBot 2, Replicator 2. It’s the so-and-so version four or whatever that is. I get that a lot of people think that’s the way to go but what happens is, if your machine, this particular one of your printers is now targeting a different demographic, you confused everybody. They don’t know which versions are for professionals and which versions for this?
When you get into a brand especially as a lot of companies in this century are new or certainly, they’re new facets of them. There’s the opportunity to create a new brand and what you have to think about is what’s your brand promise. I would argue that the brand promise of the early kit 3D printers and the earliest MakerBots promise was much more technical, engineer, and programmer-focused than it is a consumer focus. The brand promise would be different for different people and the same name won’t play in both places.
That’s where you come back to my recommendation for designers out there or people who are design houses or you’re a design firm and things like that. That’s where your name matters. That’s why we stay Hazz Design. We design the product. We’re the designers behind it, Tom and Tracy Hazzard. Its Hazz Design because it’s easier than trying to type an ampersand into a Google search or an and in a Google search. It messes everything up so we’re Hazz Design and people know us that way. That design message is critically important.
It doesn’t matter to us whether we’re designing a consumer product that is mass-produced or a 3D printed product, that design process is still the same, and the design intent and the quality and the way that we designed our process is always sustained, so that’s consistent. The outcome of what that process name is a totally different thing. For us, we’re ghost designers so it ends up under somebody else’s brand and that’s perfectly fine. For 3D printed products, we produce it ourselves and we keep it under the Hazz Design name if we decide to sell it. That’s been our plan for all along here. You have to consider that for yourself as a designer. You’re branding yourself.
Think about what we did when we created the podcast. I know it’s a podcast, and it’s not a typical product in this industry but the reality is, it is a product for people interested in 3D printing. What did we do? Did we create the Hazz Design Podcast? No, we didn’t. We gave it a name that resonated that was maybe a little play on words and a little cheeky to get people’s attention so you’d notice it, but it’s decidedly a different brand for a 3D Printing Podcast, WTFFF?!.
As you’re going out there, and you’re considering that, I highly urge you to consider the future market, your target market, and your overall brand promise. Meaning what is going to be consistent from my promise today, tomorrow, and even from the past. If your consistent promises that you always wanted to create the most reliable printer, or you always wanted to create the most cutting-edge designs, that’s your brand promise that you need to continue and think about. You also have to think about what makes you different and special.
Special is the thing. It’s what separates you from the pack.
Your name should reflect that. We hope this has helped you think. I know this is one of those things where you can debate and debate and to be honest with you, don’t listen to your family and friends. That’s not the place. Don’t run your logos and your brands by them. I’m also going to say this because this is nothing against Fiverr of any of these things, but million-dollar companies don’t buy logos on Fiverr. It doesn’t happen. If you want to be a multimillion-dollar company, stop buying your logos that way. You’re going to get what you pay for.
If you need a recommendation or reference for someone to create a logo for you, we’d be happy to refer you to somebody. Reach out to us at Info@3DStartPoint.com and we’ll help make a referral if that’s what you need.
If you have any questions about branding or entrepreneur issues or any other Ask Us Anything 3D print issues, feel free to reach out to us as you always can on social media @HazzDesign.
- Robo 3D
- Hazz Design
- @HazzDesign – Instagram
Listen | Download | View
Hear the episode of the WTFFF?! Podcast by using the player above OR click to download any episode.
Help Us Help You!
Have some feedback? Leave a comment below. We will read and respond.
- 3D Startpoint Facebook
- 3D Startpoint LinkedIn
- Hazz Design Twitter
- 3D Startpoint YouTube