B2B branding is quite a bit more challenging than B2C… maybe that’s why I love it so much!
As a Los Angeles branding consultant and the owner of a branding agency, I may not be able to simplify branding into a DIY project, but I can certainly share with you some of the fundamentals. When you’re trying to increase leads, revenue and market share, it doesn’t take long to recognize that you’re going to have increase interest, understanding and enthusiasm first. To do that, you can take a narrow approach – thinking only about the next “miracle” marketing tactic or your next campaign. Or, you can do what that wise third little pig did… and build your business house in brick.
When it comes to branding and business development, which little pig are you? Straw, wood or brick?
Building your house in brick means you’ve had sufficient marketing and general business experience to understand how perception management and the creation of customers truly happens. You know what you really want is not a series of one-note, one-off marketing tactics but an orchestrated concert. That’s why my job as a branding consultant isn’t just to make you look pretty; the real challenge for the consummate brand strategist is to build the seeds of your customer connections into your brand’s DNA. This way, every action and piece of communication can do a better job in helping you sing your company’s song. Not only does having a strong brand behind you increase performance on each initiative, but the cumulative impact is that you have established brand equity you can trade on in the future.
When I say “trade on,” I mean anyone who thinks sales are made in the moment is simply kidding himself or herself. To be able to “trade on” accumulated brand equity means you understand that a Sale is not a moment in time, but a culminating event. What is the event? The transfer of trust. They have heard your uniquely beautiful song; your consistency bespeaks your authenticity and your integrity. You can read more about Message-Centric Branding™.
Just as a great salesperson needs more than a come-on to run on, a company needs a brand. The straw and wood of this or that tactic often only serve to create the illusion of action. They don’t endure and they actually wind up costing you a whole lot more in the long run. Building in brick means your vision and values aren’t seasonal; you’ve taken the time to understand your target connections and your differentiators. Because if the creation of customers doesn’t sit at your company’s foundation, I’d like to ask you: what does?
Eight B2B Branding Tips From A Los Angeles Brand Strategist
- Position actually trumps brand when it comes to long-term B2B marketing success… and that’s coming from a dyed-in-the-CMYK brand zealot! Know the unique pain points you exist to solve and be clear on the unique value your clients derive from working with you… instead of the competition. Position first, then brand.
- Be sure you have buy-in from every department from Sales to HR and Operations, but be wary of “creative by committee” and groupthink that will only interfere with what you really want: a memorable, cohesive, differentiated brand presence that advances your near-term Sale and creates equity that you will want to leverage in the future.
- If you’re simultaneously thinking about re-doing your website, start with clear objectives and a clean communications brief. Be sure that brief doesn’t stop at laundry lists; a stellar brand brief specifically spells out how we’re going to create interest and excitement with your most desired prospects.
- From there, establish a well-organized and intuitive site architecture. A streamlined and enjoyable user experience telegraphs a similarly outstanding customer experience.
- Just because it’s B2B doesn’t mean it has to be boring and dry. Just a sprinkling of creative panache communicates volumes about your business’ professionalism and marketplace maturity.
- Address the needs of different vertical markets with specific messaging. “All things to all people” most commonly leads to insufficient juice for anybody to get all that excited about.
- In today’s B2B world, remember: people are doing much more of their own research and decision-making pre-sale. To make it to their “short list,” be sure you’ve established the authority position with content that affirms your leadership and provides value along the buyer’s journey.
- SEO matters – even if your current plans don’t call for a major organic web marketing or Pay Per Click campaign, you want to rank as high as possible. Know your keywords and their contextual brethren.
Hope that gives you a little insight into how I help people build stronger brands. If you’d like more specific commentary on your business, I’m happy to help. You know where to find me! Though your soon-to-be-beloved brand consultant here is based in Los Angeles, I’m capable of serving from New York, Chicago, Nashville and Miami to Dallas, Seattle and Portland. (You get the idea.)