DARING TO THINK BIGGER, THAT’S HOW YOU BUILD A B2B BRAND!
It’s about much more than just the functionality and price of a product.
It’s about much more than just the functionality and price of a product.
What the world’s major brands understand is that building a brand is about much more than just the functionality and price of your product. An example of this is a supplier of an application development platform that not only offers the possibility of application development; it provides people with innovation tools, makes it easier for them to work and more enjoyable in their work. It’s about conquering a position in the brain of your customer and prospect.
Creating a feeling or a certain emotion is essential. To achieve this, you must ensure that the available budget is spent as effectively as possible. A handy way to help with this is the sixty/forty rule. This rule means that sixty percent of the budget is invested in brand building and forty percent in activating sales. The strength lies in connecting these two aspects. The sixty percent contributes to the position we want to conquer in the brain. With the sixty percent that is invested in the brand, it is important that the focus is not only on the numbers. Measuring does indeed provide insight into the customer journey, but take a closer look at what works and what does not work when you study customer behavior and adjust your instruments accordingly.
It is important that the marketing department can demonstrate how marketing creates value for your brand. Tell the sales department how creativity, consistency and branding contribute to the growth of your organization and brand. Good mutual communication ensures that both departments understand each other better. They need each other and go hand in hand. The forty percent that is invested in the sales activities is successful because of the sixty percent that is invested in building the brand and vice versa.
Setting up a successful brand campaign
Creativity is under a magnifying glass because it is opposed to the dominant ratio that lives in the B2B world. As a marketer you should be able to explain why creativity and emotion are essential for a successful campaign. But this doesn’t always seem to go well. Research by the LinkedIn B2B Institute found that 75 percent of B2B ads fail because they are not creative and do not evoke emotion . When creativity and emotion are part of a campaign, it is more successful. A handy way to keep creativity and emotion in mind for your brand campaign is to use all the three rules mentioned below.
The importance of branding in an online world.
Branding has been going on ever since companies have existed. Branding simply means creating a strong brand. In the past, you put a large billboard along the public road and placed a nice, full-page advertisement in the newspaper. Later, TV and radio commercials were added. But for several decades now, we have been living in an online world, where those kinds of classic forms of branding undeniably lose their power. Yet branding remains invaluable, especially in an online world.
A strong brand?
Branding is different from simply advertising. Branding, and certainly corporate branding, is not about promoting your latest promotion or your most beautiful product, but about putting your brand in its power. That power can be anything: the lowest price guarantee, a quality stamp, or really understanding your customers. Ultimately, it’s about getting consumers to get a feel for your brand and feel connected to it. That they know what your brand stands for and feel appreciation for it. But does that connection still exist in an online world, where comparison sites are springing up like mushrooms and the majority of all eCommerce sites seem interchangeable?
Branding more important than ever
Importance of branding – competitive distinctiveness
The answer may surprise you: in today’s online market, branding appears to play an important role than ever before. That has several causes.
One of the main causes is the increase in competition in the online world. Where in the past you only faced competition from industry peers in the same shopping area, you now also compete against the Amazons of this world. The importance of having a strong, distinctive brand has only increased.
A second cause is the ease with which consumers can now conduct their own comparative product research. Wandering around fifteen shops looking for the lowest price used to take you half a weekend. Nowadays it means fifteen minutes of surfing. It is therefore more difficult to build customer loyalty; if the neighbor turns out to be cheaper, your customer will find out much faster. It is therefore less obvious that your customers will eventually become regular customers. Unless they recognize your brand and have developed a preference for it.
“Picture says everything”
“Branding goes way beyond having a logo designed or a website made. “It’s about finding your corporate identity. Creating a brand experience that fits your company and your goals. you and your goals. For example, if you want to put your company back on the market, you also have to start from the sector in which you are active,”. “On the basis of that identity, you then determine the branding, the image with which you give the right first impression. Because image, especially today, says it all.”
Benefits of good branding
Good branding can therefore be invaluable for those who do it the right way . Branding initially means a significant marketing investment, but it eventually pays for itself.
First, a strong brand increases customer satisfaction. After all, if you do it right, your products and services perfectly match what your brand promises. Branding helps enormously in building customer loyalty. With you, a customer knows that he gets what he pays for. In the end, good branding leads to a preference for your brand among customers, and therefore convenience. Customers no longer look for alternatives forever, because they know they have come to the right place. You take away the choice stress that the online world can bring for customers, and that is appreciated. They trust you and do business with you blindly, which of course pays off in the form of more sales.
That is the importance of branding in an online world.
B2B companies that do not actively market are doomed to disappear.
As said above, is well known by now. But should they also do branding , the overarching effort to consistently portray the company as a trusted brand? Doesn’t that brand awareness and positioning automatically follow from the many marketing efforts? Or is more needed? What then? And what not?
Communicate consistently with all noses in the same direction
Elements of such a branding exercise may include:
Formulating a purpose (‘why do we exist?’), mission (‘what do we want to do?’) and vision (‘where do we want to go?’).
Launching a new logo and a consistent corporate identity to support the purpose , mission and
Formulating a corporate story , an explanation in which you situate your company against the background of its own history and the evolutions on the world stage.
Launching a motto or tagline for internal use.
Launching a motto or tagline for external use.
Launching a concept or brand that summarizes your range of products and services.
Not every one of these elements is absolutely necessary, the practice is especially important to get all noses in the same direction and to communicate with the outside world in a consistent way. Above all, ensure great coherence, not a multitude of brands, sub-brands and slogans. After all, inconsistency and fragmentation lead to confusion and ambiguity, both internally and externally, and therefore to a less strong brand.
Close with a broad campaign
The branding exercise is concluded with an internal and external presentation of the brand. Certainly this aspect is completely different in B2B than in B2C. A brand for the consumer market is launched with an advertising campaign full of material intended to entice the public. A B2B brand aims at trust and is therefore launched with a campaign that radiates that.
Branding versus marketing
Branding is actually a specific part of marketing. B2B marketing efforts showcase the company’s expertise in all its various guises. They also directly or indirectly promote the products and services that the company offers. The marketing of a B2B company is therefore a multi-colored patchwork of initiatives ranging from the organization of events to the publication of a continuous stream of valuable online content.
It’s all about trust
For B2B companies, this general impression is at least as important as it is for B2C companies. But other demands are made on this general impression. After all, there are no impulse purchases in B2B, so you won’t achieve anything with the kind of trendy seduction tricks that B2C branding and marketing are full of. In the musical Cabaret , artist sings ‘Money Makes the World Go Round,’ but in a B2B context you can safely add: ‘Only Trust Makes the Money Go Round.’ That is why B2B branding is often more demanding than B2C branding: you have to position your company as the most trusted brand in the specific market in which you operate and you also have to support and monitor that status in the long term.
A strong brand is worth gold
If you succeed, the reward is great. You gain greater brand awareness and can enjoy an emotional advantage throughout the purchase process. Existing customers show greater loyalty, the competition becomes smaller and the sales process may be shorter. Moreover, you can more easily negotiate premium prices with higher margins. So good branding is just as important for generating leads as it is for retaining existing business.
B2B-branding als booster
But the question is, of course: how do you develop such a strong brand? In the introduction we already asked the question whether the much coveted brand awareness does not automatically follow from the many marketing efforts? That is only partially so. B2B marketing itself is relatively slow. With content marketing, for example, you gradually and step by step work on your reputation as a reliable source of information and in that way also on your name as a potential supplier of products or services. Without a strong overarching story, this is a difficult and sometimes unsuccessful process. A branding exercise, if properly prepared and executed, can support and boost that reputation-building process.
The core of the branding is recorded in the brand strategy and monitored by the brand strategist. I would be happy to help you with your existing or new brand strategy.
A company’s purchasing decision differs profoundly from that of a consumer. While most B2C brands drive impulse purchases, a B2B brand should support making a well-considered investment. A decision that is also made by different people. Your corporate identity and the brand architecture of your solutions must therefore be aligned with this and reflect the value you have to offer. But it certainly doesn’t have to be ‘boring’.
How do potential customers see your business? Is your story relevant and inspiring to them? How do you differentiate from your competitors? How does your identity strengthen your distinctiveness? Is your corporate identity easily deployable and consistent across all applications and channels?
I hold your company in front of a mirror:
Together we map out your existing corporate identity and brand architecture of your solutions
I take a critical look at the story they tell and how they can facilitate the sales process.
I benchmark with your competitors and companies in other sectors. I detect pain points and opportunities.
I draw out the outlines of your adapted, desired identity.
Your business evolves, your identity must follow. As you grow and innovate, your story changes to the market. That story must be correctly translated into words and images. It must substantiate the relevance for the target group and be recognizable and distinctive. In addition, your corporate identity must be applicable in various expressions: coherent and flexible – from social media post to quotation template. Your identity should inspire and radiate value for customers.
I bring an inspiring story in words and images:
I start from the story you bring to the market and translate this into words and images – from an elevator pitch to an illustration style that makes your solutions clear at a glance.
I work out a consistent and applicable house style and provide all the means of communication to apply it.
I work out a communication plan to launch your new identity internally and externally.
A B2B brand is rarely separate from the company. Your brand architecture should reflect the logic of the value your customers provide. For each solution, you must therefore carefully select those brand attributes that resonate with the target group. I record these in a correct wording and image register, so that they can be used at every stage of the B2B sales process: ranging from teasing videos on social media to “consultative selling” presentations and tender books.
I build a brand that is more than a logo:
Together we define the positioning of your solution, framed within your brand architecture and your corporate identity.
I will develop text and images to shape your brand: I provide name, strapline, logo, photography and illustrations.
I provide all the tools to market your brand, ranging from sales support tools to support direct sales to launch campaigns and launch kits for distributors.
It strikes me that many companies do not have an overview of the image of the company on the various channels. That is why the first step is to map out how your brand is currently listed online. To start, make a list of the communication channels your company uses.
For example: e-mail, website(s), Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, folders/promotional material.
Google for keywords that customers use and print the result
Print the LinkedIn profile of your company
Do you use Twitter? Print out your Twitter profile and the 10 most recent tweets.
Print a typical email sent by your company
Grab recent correspondence/promotional material from your company
Put the prints on the floor and take a step back. Do you see a good, complete but above all consistent impression of your organization?
Many companies score a big unsatisfactory here. Take the Google results. Is your company in the top 3 for the most important keywords? If so, does that translate into visitors, interaction and conversion?
Which email address do you actually use? A business image requires an e-mail address that conveys this. Does the address consist of only your first name or is the company more formal, with a combination of first name and last name in the email address?
Too often I see that companies do not take advantage of the possibilities that the email signature offers. Use the space available to clearly state contact details including relevant social media links. And yes, adding a disclaimer is helpful – but also check it for tone and content.
Your website is the most important tool for effective online branding. It’s what people land on from your social media profile and what they end up on when people use Google. Does the site match the image of your company in terms of quality and image?
I was recently in conversation with a director owner of an international transport company and I complimented him on how clean and new the commercial vehicles all looked like. He accepted this compliment and confirmed that he thinks it is important that when one encounters his trucks on the public road, one gets a good first impression of the company and brand.
Then I asked why he doesn’t pay the same attention to his website. Because the last message was from 2010.
In other words: is your website sufficiently up-to-date?
Marketing and brand management are therefore inextricably linked. The first consists of targeted actions that achieve results in the short term, the second consists of achieving results in the longer term. Although brand management basically always has the same goal (to increase brand awareness), it is applied in all kinds of ways.
Co-branding is a collaboration between different brands that want to access new markets and reduce operational costs. Well-known examples are Harman Kardon audio in Volvo, or Intel processors in Dell computers.
If you use your organization name as a brand, you create an unambiguous, positive association and increase recognition among prospects and customers. A unique brand story is crucial here. A story that fits the mission and vision of the company.
With this form of brand management you put the employee at the center of your communication. This form contributes to the overall image and image of an organization. In videos, podcasts or at career fairs, your employees will tell you how great it is to come and work for this company.
Make your employees ambassadors of your organization! That’s what you do here. You focus on an internal target group, who will become real ambassadors of the organization with the right tools.
If you were a brand, what would that brand look like? How does it behave? What would it like to be recognized for? Based on these questions, you look specifically at yourself, your ambitions and the (marketing) strategy with which you want to achieve your goals.
“It is not our ratio, but our emotions that determine whether we trust someone or not. Perception drives decision-making, emotion determines what we do.”
Branding starts with a good positioning story, core values and brand values. By consistently propagating this, you build a brand. I build successful brands.
What I offer for driving leads to loyal customers.