Do you want your B2B branding to be boring? Most companies don’t! But, many B2B brands today are mired in old-fashioned, outdated mentalities, and end up missing what connects with their audience.

B2B branding has been evolving, and competition has never been fiercer. To be a winner in the B2B landscape today, you need a creative, effective brand strategy that will cut through all the noise, and separate your unique brand from the rest of the pack in order to engage your audience on a deeper level.

Read on to learn six core components of creating a strong B2B brand strategy to help you build your brand.

Keep It Simple

While your day-to-day operations, processes, or products may be complicated, winning B2B brands keep their message easy to understand, digest, and remember. For example, while they develop some of the most complex technology on the planet, they are experts at keeping their message simple. IBM’s “Smarter Planet” initiative vision is a perfect example of making the complex simple.

Become Customer-Centric

Some B2B brands define themselves by how remarkable their technology is, how long they’ve been in business, or the services they provide. It is much more important to define yourself from the customer’s perspective. Why should they care about your brand? What’s in it for them? What is the underlying “why” in their purchase decisions?

Does your marketing team spend considerable time just listening to your audience — discovering their key goals, what keeps up worrying at night, identifying their core frustrations? Customer-centric branding means understanding your customer. Focus on learning from your customers so that you can communicate what matters to them most instead of talking about your company.

Use Data-Driven Marketing

If you hope to build your B2B brand and hone your marketing strategy, you need to rely on data. Many companies overlook the importance of analytics data, yet in order to be customer-centric, it’s highly effective. Data comes in many forms, both micro, and macro. On the micro level, you can delve into your brand’s social and content data, your search results, and the data you mine from your engagement data. Rely on market and analyst market research reports as well as content and social data.

Evoke an Emotional Response

Why do B2B buyers choose higher-priced solutions when there are many other cheaper options available? Get emotional to generate more sales. If your buyer doesn’t emotionally connect with you at some point in the purchase process, they will connect with someone else. Building an emotional connection with your audience is one of the most powerful things your company can do to sell your brand. The emotional decision typically comes first, then the personal rationalization follows.

Create Messaging that Sets You Apart

If your industry is littered with competitors, it’s crucial that your brand messaging strategy stands out. Messaging that comes across like an encyclopedia or dictionary does not stand out. It doesn’t grab attention. It isn’t memorable. Sterile or vague messaging doesn’t scream that your product or service will solve your customer’s problems, or transform their relationships. Listing the products that you sell, or their features isn’t as important as communicating what your product will “do” to enhance their lives.

Position Your Company Clearly

Are you the low-cost leader in your market, or the premium solution? When your B2B buyer encounters a touchpoint with your brand, they need to know that they have landed in the right place. Are you the go-to solution for the Fortune 500 or startups? SMBs or mid-sized companies? If they spot your content, see your booth at a conference, or land on your website, will they know your brand position? Will they know your company is the right one for their specific needs? The more vague and generic your messaging is, the more likely your buyer will move on. Be crystal-clear in all your company messaging so that customers are not confused about who you are and how you will solve their problems.

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