Why does brand matter for B2B? Because regardless of whom you are selling to, you still need to capture the attention of a person.
An individual with needs, preferences and desires—whether that’s a CEO buying your service or a shopper buying a product.
Why you need branding
Your brand is your reputation. When customers make a purchasing decision, that decision is based on one thing — does your brand speak to them in a way that encourages the desired perception of your organization? Branding can help you stand out from your competitors, add value to your offering and engage with your customers.
Connecting with people
Along with differentiation is engaging with your customers. Branding is also about building a relationship between a brand and its audience, creating a strong emotional connection. A meaningful connection is what will give a brand longevity in the marketplace.
When brand’s communication come through intact—crystal clear and potent— it goes straight into people’s brains without distortion or the need to think too hard about it.
Defining your brand
If you’re thinking about how to become an extraordinary brand or if you want to assess where your brand stands at the moment, you’ll need to consider:
- What makes you different?
- Why do you matter?
- What do you believe in?
- Where will you end up?
- What motivates you every day?
- How do you want to come across?
If you can start to answer these questions with clarity and consistency then you have the basis for developing a strong brand.
Define your brand or others will
If left unattended, individual managers will each do their own adhoc brand management. The result will be a hodgepodge of corporate logos, taglines and marketing materials. Customers will be confused and the company will look disorganized.
Branding for different sectors
Start-up Business Branding
If you’re launching a new business, you’re in a unique position. You’re small, responsive and adaptable. It’s much easier to look at a market from the outside, assess the competition, opportunities or gaps in the market. This allows you to launch a brand that challenges and shakes up the conventions of the sector. It takes guts, but you can often reap huge rewards!
Service Company Branding
In essence, service brands are built on the people who deliver them. Generally companies and organizations are providing a service of some sort. For service brands, customer service is the dominant part of the offer. For this reason, it’s critical to reflect the brand in the way the service is provided and the way staff interact with customers.
Business to Business Branding
B2B Branding is about trust. If you’re looking for a professional to help you invest money you may choose a company based on what you’ve seen and heard or if the company seems like they could help you make good decisions. But in order for you to choose them (and not their competitor), you also must trust the individuals who will be advising me, not just the company.
B2B branding often include stakeholder touch-points that have little or no visual presence in the market, but can have a huge impact on your company’s reputation. The list includes things such as CEO vision, employee training, pricing strategy, customer relationships, and sales force communications. Each of these items are an essential part of a company’s brand, but because they’re not visible, business leaders often overlook them. The principles of effective branding apply in just the same way in the B2B sector as elsewhere.
Article by Rob Barnett
President, Brand Strategist at Straydog