How is B2B branding different from sales and marketing, and why should B2B companies adopt a branding strategy based on specific objectives?
The subject of Branding comes up more and more frequently in B2B and rightfully so, as it deserves thoughtful consideration. As a B2B marketing professional, you should carefully think through the planning and implementation of your branding strategy because it represents a real competitive advantage.
Your branding strategy must also provide a unique customer experience. A better customer experience distinguishes your brand vis-à-vis your competitors. Moreover, this connection between customer experience and brand perception is strong. An optimized customer experience will naturally improve their perception of your brand.
What is B2B branding?
Your B2B branding represents your business’s values, identity, culture, and reputation. It must also demonstrate its unique market positioning. In a strong competitive environment, you must be able to differentiate yourself through your brand image: the message you want to convey, your offer, your ability to innovate…
Your branding should reflect several important points, such as:
How well you know your customer: One of the most important things your brand can communicate is how well you understand your customer and how effectively you meet their needs.
This is particularly true in B2B, where the seller/customer relationship is often more a partnership than a mere transactional one. Good customer relationship management is essential and reflects your ability to maintain a healthy and lasting relationship over time.
Passion and purpose: It’s important to explain why you act in this way or that, rather than just communicate what you are doing.
Highlight your brand by demonstrating what motivates your values and actions, and what led you to create your unique offering (your added value). Stand out!
Culture and personality: This isn’t only a B2C thing. These elements are of paramount importance in B2B. Your business’s culture directly impacts your relationship with your customers. Your behavior, personality and interactions must follow through with the brand image and convey your company’s values.
Consistency and quality: In B2B, big buying decisions are made, and this is why your brand’s coherence in actions, services and products are of great importance in your customer’s purchase experience. Also, it’s important to “unite” on different media and channels when talking about the brand, to maintain consistency and quality. How your brand is perceived across the media will have an impact on your customers as well.
Uniqueness or Differentiation: Have you wondered what makes you different? Why would they choose you rather than your nearest competitor? What more do you have to offer and what more can you bring?
Differentiation is the factor that determines the value assigned to your brand, and B2B branding answers the question: “Why choose you? “.
Why is Branding important?
As mentioned above, branding is not just about a logo.
Each company has particularities which can be relied on to define brand image and positioning.
What are the values, the message you want to convey?
What are your strengths? Don’t try to become someone else, highlight who you are.
In B2B, buyers / decision-makers may have many reasons to choose one company over another. It can relate to price, service, diversity of products, but also the fact that these aren’t found in your values / actions / images / offers.
A successful brand strategy translates into brand equity. It is essential to develop a solid roadmap to implement of your branding strategy.
How to define your brand?
When a company is starting up or launching a product, the entire brand image has to be created.
Here are some steps to follow to help you build your brand:
- Discover, define and tease out your corporate culture
- Evaluate each of your internal and external actions. Are they consistent with what you have found?
- Telling engaging stories, developing empathy
- Be coherent and sincere
In short, defining a brand strategy isn’t an easy task. But, it will be the “showcase” of your company, and lead you the ultimate value of your brand … Don’t neglect it!