Brand building is an ongoing process. The brand is developing and transforming with the company. Choosing a company or product name, an identity design, and an overall marketing plan is obviously the first step.
But, over time, these things may change as the company itself develops, as new markets emerge, and as customer/client preferences/responses evolve. Brand building, then, must be ongoing and somewhat fluid – it allows for a much longer lifecycle.
In this article, we have collected tips, strategies, and recommendations that will help you build your B2B brand for maximum benefit.
The Goals of Creating a Brand in the B2B Segment
Why are you building a brand in the first place?
Here are the reasons:
Intellectual Property Protection
Imagine if someone attempted to “lift”” Coca-Cola’s logo design or any of its slogans, making just a few very minor changes. This is a lawsuit in the making. Or suppose some disgruntled employee sold the WD-40 formula to its competition. As you build your brand and all that goes into it, you want to ensure that your business and your product/service is protected.
Creating and Maintaining a Positive Image
Part of building a brand always relates to the “image” the company and its products present to the consuming public. Thus, “You are in good hands with Allstate” promotes an image of security and protection.
As businesses build their brands, they must focus on the needs of their target customers and how that need can be met by their products or services. That image should project quality, solving problems, and promote a solid reputation. The targeted customers/clients should trust the brand to deliver and deliver well.
Sales Promotion and Management
The positive image that a business promotes can become the driving force behind all marketing campaigns and strategies. Stress on quality, problem-solving, and uniqueness will attract customers. In turn, sales increase, but so does loyalty.
Features of Creating a B2B Brand
B2B brands can take lessons from B2C brands. The same “rules” apply when developing a brand. It should reflect the essence of your business, have a strong marketing message, and convey your core values. Appealing to emotions and the subconscious is not just for consumer brands. Business decision-makers are human too.
Here are key features of creating your B2B brand.
Focus on Your Target Audience
What specific companies are you targeting? Develop a “persona” of the typical company that includes size, business needs, problems it encounters, and, yes, the people who will be involved in a decision to purchase what you offer.
Purchasing decisions are not typically made by a single individual. It’s a team collaboration that requires looking at options, making recommendations, and getting final approval. It is your job to make them see how your product/service makes their lives easier and benefits the organization as a whole.
Understand the Decision-Making Algorithm
Most purchasing decisions are made emotionally. Someone looking for a new car, for example, may actually pay more for an upgraded model, because he wants it sitting in his driveway and impressing the neighbors. There are lots psychological reasons for making purchases – needing an image of success, fear of missing out, etc.
Businesses are comprised of people who also make emotional decisions. In the B2B arena, though, initial emotions will attract, but rationality then comes into play. Pros and cons are weighed against the benefit of a product or service to the company, as well as the cost. The goal is the greatest benefit for the least cost.
As you market your brand, you want to create that initial emotion, but you must then factor in the rational decision-making process.
The Tone of Voice
When marketing to individual consumers, brands work hard to establish personal relationships with their current and potential customers. In the B2B world, such relationships can cross a line. It is your job to find the right balance between being friendly, helpful, and personable and yet keeping things on a professional level.
Stages of Creating a Brand in the B2B Segment
Start from Your Core Values
It is important to determine values for your company. This is the foundation on which everything rests. Values will build your culture, strategy, and positioning. For many, this is a growth task, but it is important. Plus, if you broadcast your values and they resonate with the values of your customers, this will strengthen the emotional connection and trust. Next, we’ll talk about how to incorporate emotions into the process of creating a b2b brand.
Draw that Target Customer Portrait
This was mentioned above, but it is worth repeating in more detail. Companies are structured entities with goals and needs. But companies are run and managed by people. So, you have two portraits to craft – the companies that you are targeting and the people within those companies who make decisions.
For example, you have created a smart HR management system. Your target companies will be those who are in the process of growth and expansion. They have been using a largely manual HR system, but it is becoming too difficult to manage. They need a more sophisticated system that streamlines and automates much of what they do.
Now you focus on the decision-makers. Craft a portrait of the typical HR manager in such a company (who is feeling the most pain) and those above him/her that will have the final say. Your brand marketing must show that HR manager how his life will be improved. And you will want that higher-up to see that your product will ultimately result in greater efficiency and lower costs (e.g., reducing human error; reducing staff, etc.).
Determine the Value You are Delivering
A value proposition is a clear and simple statement of the benefits that consumers will receive when they purchase a product or service.
The presence of such an offer determines the value of your company in the market, which gives it a competitive advantage – your difference from other brands. The Value Proposition Canvas Template developed by Osterwalder is used to develop value propositions.
Value propositions are just one of the blocks of this scheme. The block includes a description of goods and services that are valuable for a particular consumer segment and are your advantage. The advantage may be quantitative or qualitative, for example:
- Novelty: some value propositions are focused on meeting completely new needs that simply did not exist in the market before;
- Productivity: increasing efficiency or productivity has traditionally been used to create value propositions;
- Custom manufacturing: goods and services that satisfy individual customer needs or narrow consumer segments are of high value;
- Fulfillment of part of the work: value can also be created by helping the client to carry out his work;
- Design: This is a very important element, which is very difficult to evaluate, but which may become the most important link in a value proposition;
- Brand/status: for the consumer, the value may simply lie in the demonstration of a particular brand;
- Price: offering the same benefits at a lower price is the standard way to satisfy the demands of price-sensitive consumer segments;
- Cost reduction: helping customers reduce their costs is a great way to create value;
- Risk reduction: a significant value for the customer can be a reduction in the level of risk that he faces when buying goods and services. This works especially well in business to business;
- Accessibility: another way of creating value is to make goods and services available to those companies that previously did not have access to them;
- Convenience/applicability: the convenience of using the product may also become a value.
Create a Compelling Message
After you have identified your greatest strengths (values), you have to do the most important task. You need to develop a marketing message. Unfortunately, in this case, it is not possible to create step-by-step instructions on how to do this. Marketing messages will vary based on the following:
- What you know about your potential customer in terms of needs and problems
- How your product/service can meet those needs efficiently and cost-effectively
- How your product/service beats your competition and provides the perfect solution
You can get help with your marketing messages by researching those of other B2B companies, not necessarily those of your competitors. Solid phrasing, structure, emotional appeal, and rational presentations occur across all industries.
Develop a Brand Strategy
This will be an ongoing process, as you grow and as your brand image evolves. Look at your goals, the value propositions you want to promote, and then translate those into your messaging. These will guide every employee in their interactions with any potential customer. And a consistent message will keep your company on track.
Come Up with a Unique Name
The brand name for b2b is just as important as for other segments. Your employees, partners, colleagues, and competitors will often use the name of your brand. It should sound strong, pronounced, and be easy to remember. Think, for example, of the brand name “Prudential” – it sounds substantial and powerful.
Create a Logo, Corporate Identity, and Brand Book
Most people associate branding with elements of visual identification. Visual identification and uniformly approved standards of style are very important for maintaining brand consistency. But do not narrow the role of brand creation to this function only. Remember that your brand should work to attract new customers as well as create sustainable loyalty for an existing audience. It should also serve as a guarantor of exceptional quality and an unmistakable identifier for your particular business. We recommend starting from the basics of psychology in marketing and choosing images and colors that will help you convey your values, rather than contradict them. The Prudential brand, for example, has a rock – what could be more substantial? Slogans work well too. Think of the slogan used by GE – “We bring good things to life.”
Differentiate Your Brand If You Are Working with Businesses from Several Countries
This may sound paradoxical; your brand should not be integral if you work with audiences from different countries. Each segment has its perception, so think about it in advance. Many well-known companies have adapted their brand to the needs of target audiences. If you have plans to reach beyond your borders, you will need to think beyond your “home” version. We recommend immediately leaving open the possibilities for localizing the brand, website, and content, and the latter can be done with the help of professional translators like The Word Point.
Manage Your Brand
Branding development is a continuous process. It does not end at the time of the creation of the brand book. Over time, the business will grow, change, and develop new directions. And at some point, it will demand an update to its corporate identity, emphasize its new competencies and respond to its evolving.market position.
Effective Emotion-Based B2B Branding Tactics
We have already begun to talk about the fact that your brand should provide an opportunity to think rationally, but at the same time evoke emotions. Your customers must have an emotional connection with your company. But an emotional connection can only be between people. It’s simple enough to understand what emotional branding is, but how to tie it to your business?
Emotional branding is more than just customer loyalty; it is the creation of a connection in which customers will stay with you regardless of whether your market positions are strengthening or your stock price has started to fall.
Here are tactics that will work to achieve that emotional connection you want.
Determine Your Current Status
You have objectively evaluated your brand, have identified its value propositions, defined your target audience, and developed a marketing message. But have you identified the emotions that can be used to appeal to your audience? This is often called your “emotional space,” and it is how you can use your customers’ needs and pain points to psychological advantage.
Find the Core Emotion
What is the core emotion of the customers you serve? Do they fear missing out on something new and exciting? Is an individual within the company focused on being a “hero” by bringing in a big benefit?
If you could cause only one emotion in your clients, what would you choose? Have you defined the emotional space of your brand?
Remember our model by which we determined values? This is ideal for determining the emotions that you will evoke. Here are some examples.
- Focus on Profit
If you focus on profit, then real numbers and comparisons are the best components of your strategy.
- Focus on Less Risk
Business owners certainly take risks, but if there is an opportunity to reduce the chances of losing, then tell them about it.
- Focus on Improving Efficiency
As part of this strategy, it is necessary to show the successful cases of those who have already taken advantage of your offer.
- Focus on Getting Rid of Routine Tasks
Remember, we gave an example with the HR system? That is just one case. When people want to ease their daily tasks, perhaps to reduce stress, this is a good focus.
- Focus on fear of falling behind competitors
Fear is a very strong emotion, but very powerful. It is necessary to be very careful and tactful to play on fear, and at the same time to do it in a very gentle, but clear way.
- Focus on Accessibility
For example, if you offer the development of affordable AI systems, then you can reach out to a much larger number of companies that previously could not afford this innovation.
- Achieve Emotional Uniformity
As soon as you define your emotional space, you need to achieve emotional uniformity at all points of contact – from product, packaging, communication, to website design.
To do this, you need to determine which brand elements (colors, packaging, logo, font, product characteristics, slogan, images) evoke emotions, and make sure that they are uniform in all manifestations. There’s a reason why banks often use the color green – it emotes security and money.
Tell Your Story
Once you have identified the key emotion and come up with a strategy for how you will trigger this, it’s time to tell the story of your business. It will be especially cool if your story resonates as much as possible with this main emotion. For example, you help companies reduce risks because you once fell victim to a rash act. Now you want to help others not to face that same risk. Remember, stories establish relationships.
As you can see, when your business works for the benefit of another business, the process of creating a strong brand has unique steps and elements. You have to take into account both the needs of companies and the particularities of the people who manage them and make decisions. You have to create such a valuable proposal and argue this value so clearly that the doubts dissipate by themselves. You have to come from emotions, but at the same time give the right and time for customers to make rational decisions. You have to appeal with facts and figures, adding emotional coloring to them. And of course, you must strive for integrity and uniformity in all your actions aimed at strengthening and developing your brand image and reputation.
Originally posted 2020-03-11 18:18:27. Republished by Blog Post Promoter