Whether you are a start-up business or a long-established company, B2B branding is a vital part of your marketing strategy. Yet, it is often neglected because it’s a concept that can be tricky to wrap your head around.
What is B2B Branding?
Your brand is more than your products and services. It’s more than your logo and web design. It’s even more than all of that remarkable content that you’ve been creating for inbound and outbound marketing campaigns. While these are all important elements that support your B2B brand, they are not your brand.
Simply put, your brand distinguishes your products and services from those of your competitors. Any meaning, value or life you want it to carry is yours to create and develop. But, it’s not a one-and-done deal. A brand image is something that you cultivate. And if you don’t actively manage it, your brand can morph on its own, driven by market perception and customer opinion—whether good, bad or just mediocre.
Seize the Opportunity
You have a tremendous opportunity at hand—determining an ongoing strategy to control, execute and leverage the assets that you bring to market. Your brand is about why your company is unique and the benefits your customers reap from working with you. By developing, fostering and maintaining your B2B brand strategy, you control your story in the marketplace. And that’s just too valuable to leave in the hands of others.
A strong brand is especially important to B2B companies because of the long buying cycles; the time, effort and emotion invested into product research; and the large monetary weight of a B2B purchase. This article describes the B2B buyer’s pain in a nutshell: “Buy the wrong toothpaste, and you can always change brands when the tube runs out. Buy the wrong turbine and you could hurt your company’s earnings for years – and find yourself looking for another job.” In other words, your customers and prospects are drawn to strong, reliable, reputable brands above others.
Stand Out From the Pack
When developing and cultivating your brand, always keep your unique selling proposition (USP) in mind. Your prospects need to understand what you stand for, how you are different—or even better—than your competitors, and what your distinctive perspective means for them. Brand isn’t about being all things to all customers. It’s presenting your company as the preferred choice for your specific audience and commanding your market segment. For tips on incorporating branding into your campaigns, check out Branded Content and Content Marketing.
All marketing tactics should be thought of as part of a larger whole, rather than separate pieces. By strategically integrating all tactics, the programs become more effective and cost efficient. An Integrated marketing communication plan helps you meet real business objectives – generate leads, grow revenues, gain market share, and become the leading brand.
Lisa Goetz is a public relations executive at Schubert b2b, where she primarily writes content and manages media relations. She brings 20 years of editorial and communications experience to Schubert b2b and holds a PhD in English literature from Duquesne University. When not in the office, Lisa likes to take excursions with her husband and hang out with her cat and a good book.