B2B Brand Strategy:
B2B brand strategy is a long-term plan that clearly describes who you are as a company, differentiates you from competitors, and clarifies what you do - who your customers are - where you’re headed - and how you’ll get there.
We will go over what the role of B2B branding is, then how and why B2B enterprises should adopt a brand strategy. By the end of this article you should know the importance of branding in B2B and have some excellent examples to follow.
What were once reliable tools are no longer getting the job done. To be effective, we have to adjust for the times and use new resources. The basic fundamentals have stayed the same. The competition has adapted new strategies and tools like email marketing or content marketing to be more effective. B2B branding core principles haven't changed, and yet B2B branding feels more different then ever (thanks internet). In the last 20 or so years the world has gone through some huge changes and so has the way that buyers buy.
Today, business consumers go through a totally different buyers journey. They are using the internet to learn about the product before they buy instead of talking to a sales team. To stay current, we need to adapt and build new brand strategies. The good news is the internet allows stronger and more powerful sales and marketing strategies to be crafted. The amount of profound and meaningful messages have stayed the same over the years. Now the messages are being established more quickly and in totally new ways. Customers and employees drawn closer to businesses through more meaningful and gratifying relationships. Building a unified and up to date plan is more critical than ever during these changing times.
If you are totally convinced that having a great B2B brand strategy is critical, scroll past the next bit. I have dedicated this next part to explaining why brand building is important to B2B CEOs. If not lets go through the history of the strongest B2B companies in the world.
Why should brand-building be important to B2B CEOs?
1. B2B marketers have to connect with thousands of different businesses, and sometimes Fortune 500 companies. To accomplish this task takes a huge effort and going through traditional channels makes it near impossible. As a result your efforts will be spread thin.
2. Not creating a single company wide brand means each individual manager creates their own unique brand message. This makes the company not look unified. By not guiding the branding ship, you are sure to run aground. The result will be a catastrophic hodgepodge of missed opportunities. Customers will be confused and the company will look disorganized. Grab the wheel, point the branding ship in the direction you want, and constantly move in the right direction and the world is your oyster.
3. B2B marketers realize that developing brand awareness help capture a larger share of channel margins. and build loyalty that can protect them against lower-priced competitors.
Consider these examples:
A lot of business-to-business companies think marketing is only useful in direct to consumer scenarios. Of the ten most valuable brands (in the world) four of them generate more B2B sales then they do to end consumers. Microsoft, Intel, IBM, GE
Harvard Business School conducted a study of the best B2B brands world wide. The companies had a few things in common and these are 4 of the traits that are recognized as key factors to continued success.
1. Company branding is focused on a single globally unified brand rather than individual product brands.
2. The CEO is outspoken about about the brand and is an excellent storyteller.
3. B2B marketing expenditures are measured rigorously to the satisfaction of the hard-nosed engineers and finance staff who run the typical B2B enterprise.
4. The company has a coordinated web presence to ensure a consistent face to stakeholders. Coordinating your web presence is also the best way to get control of your marketing communication that may have become too decentralized.
Now that we see how brand strategy is insanely useful, lets dive into the different ways that driving a brand strategy will help your firm.
In this next part, we will explore the snowball effects of developing a super strong brand. When people see something familiar they are more comfortable with it and are more likely to choose something they already are acquainted with. It is why you sit in the same spot on the couch every time. Change is difficult and people avoid it subconsciously and consciously.
So we start the snow ball and begin having 6-12 "touches" with your brand messaging. It provides you with more loyal customers, and you'll start to see more respect and recognition for your firm. Because your brand is now readily visible you will want to show why its better. Having a driven brand you will be able to clearly differentiate from your competitors. Now we are really gaining momentum as we continue to roll the metaphorical snowball. Your message is now strong enough that your customers like and recognize your brand. Your customers are becoming brand promoters. Promoters will want to share your brand and content. So you make it easy for them to share. The customers that love you will be passing your branding message to acquaintances that need your services. They will rave and brag about your services.
So do you think brand-building is essential for B2B companies?