Quick, think about your favorite product. Is it coffee, a car, or a personal device? What name, colors, logo, or tag line do you associate with that product? That unique identity or description is called “branding,” which is required for successful marketing in a highly competitive consumer and retail marketplace.
A recognizable brand is necessary for connecting with buyers, especially for complex technology that they may not understand completely. Recognition builds trust with consumers who believe that the company behind the product will deliver on the promises of the item. Shoppers are more willing to invest in a purchase because they feel comfortable with who is behind it, and understand its ideas and the advantages to their lives.
How do you ensure that your target customers connect with your brand? Through uniformity and customization. Joining such opposing concepts may seem weird at first until you realize that 3D printing easily delivers on both promises.
The Wonders of 3D Printers
Because they don’t yet know much about the process, average consumers see 3D printers as technological magic. They may have marveled at demos where formless cords or lumps of materials disappear into a machine and then emerge as colorful dinosaur toys, decorative jewelry, or utilitarian cups. They realize the potential for using the process on producing everything from hand tools and furniture to prosthetic limbs and cars.
The wonder of 3D printing then becomes a fitting indication of “the future,” “a revolution,” and other buzzwords that the media likes to throw around. “Rapid manufacturing,” a synonym for the process, turns ideas into prototypes into final products almost instantaneously. This leads to lower manufacturing costs, faster turnaround times, and consumer items that reach store shelves more quickly.
This technology also allows for quick mass personalization. Every item produced can be tailored to the wishes of the buyer. The hearing aid industry and dental labs have been using customization and uniformity for decades. Their manufacturing must be uniform enough to fit federal and industry standards and to provide the consistent benefits promised by their advertising. And yet, each product must fit the individual ear or mouth shape of the customer.
Because 3D printing easily and quickly provides both uniformity and customization on a per-item basis, it can create unique opportunities for branding. The process can deliver a consistent corporate message that is personalized to the individual consumer.
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