What’s In a Brand? In EMS, Apparently Everything

The evolution of the EMS company as a “brand” is nearly complete.

Since a group of industry folks (including our columnist Sue Mucha) came up with the term at an industry meeting more than 25 years ago, the once common jargon of “board stuffers” has been vacated. In its place, the industry substituted CEM (contract electronics manufacturer) or EMS (electronics manufacturing services). Contract assembler, while still commonplace in conversation, is less preferred in writing, especially on corporate websites.

Now, the self-branding of EMS companies has taken over. No longer content with being grouped as an industry, EMS firms are taking matters into their own hands, outsourcing (get it?) their marketing to high-profile branding firms and adding a heavy dose of pizzazz along the way.

One well-known makeover is the company formerly known as Flextronics. Its style experts gave a haircut to its name (“Flex”), and added a sleek tagline: From Sketch to Scale.

Not to be outdone, Jabil is “A Trusted Product Solutions Partner+.” I’m not sure what the “+” means, exactly, but maybe it has something to do with Jabil’s alternate slogan: “Empowering Brands / Empowering the World.” That sounds exhausting.

Asia is getting in on the act. Wistron will serve you “Cradle to Cradle.” (That refers to the lifespan of electronics, but if my kids’ habits are any indicator, it could extend much further.)

Compal‘s catchphrase leans toward the esoteric: “From Vision to Reality.” If that’s too vague, the rest of it (“Innovation Empowered”) won’t help.

Taking its cue from the intelligent factory, Sanmina is now Sanmina 4.0. Plexus is “The Product Realization Company.”

Tier 2 companies are also jumping on the bandwagon. Neways is now “Your EMS Lifecycle Partner.”

Of course, not every firm has caught the branding wave. For instance, AsteelFlash is Electronics Manufacturing  Services, Mastered,” while NeoTech is taking a more traditional approach with its slogan, “Providing Electronics Manufacturing Services That Deliver Value.” Someone better clue them in, stat.

 

 

This entry was posted in Hot Wires by Mike. Bookmark the permalink.

About Mike

Mike Buetow is editor-in-chief of Circuits Assembly magazine, the leading publication for electronics manufacturing, and PCD&F, the leading publication for printed circuit design and fabrication. He is also vice president and editorial director of UP Media Group, for which he oversees all editorial and production aspects. He has more than 20 years' experience in the electronics industry, including six years at IPC, an electronics trade association, at which he was a technical projects manager and communications director. He has also held editorial positions at SMT Magazine, community newspapers and in book publishing. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois. Follow Mike on Twitter: @mikebuetow

One thought on “What’s In a Brand? In EMS, Apparently Everything

  1. Funny. We tangle ourselves up in “relating” to the customer with words and phrases that are often hard to parse. On Celestica’s home pages are the enigmatic words “Welcome to the Acceleration Economy” Huh? But don’t worry. They have whole blog post explaining (and to be fair the explanation does have some good points.
    But to be fair I suppose a simpler tag line like “we make stuff” wouldn’t fly well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.