Brands are everywhere – on food, clothes, cars, electronics. We see tens of them every day, but remember only some…
When it comes to business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing, branding is seen as incredibly powerful and consumer brands can become priceless business assets.
But, how important is your brand when your business serves other companies, organisations or professionals (B2B)?
And, how can you make your B2B brand even more effective?
As East Anglia’s leading B2B marketing agency, we’ve extensive experience building and boosting our clients’ brands, so we thought we’d share our insight:
What is a brand?
First, let’s briefly clarify what your business’s brand actually is.
Much more than just your name and logo, your brand is the impression you make on your customers and marketplace. It’s your business’s image and reputation.
Jeff Bezos – the billionaire founder of Amazon – defined it as “branding is what you want people to think about you when you’re not around”.
How important is branding for B2B?
Just like in consumer marketing, branding is perhaps more important than ever in B2B marketing.
In a world of social media and digital marketing, we are bombarded by brands and use them to help us navigate and choose the products and services we purchase. This is just as true in our working lives as it is in our home life.
In an instant, your business’s brand can communicate who you are, what you do and reinforce a carefully cultivated and maintained reputation.
Your brand is perhaps most critical in a competitive situation, when a prospective customer is choosing between your company and others.
Remember though, it’s not just your name or logo.
Though they are very important – and getting them right gives you an enormous head start – you can develop a strong brand with any logo by using effective marketing to develop the right reputation.
So, how can you improve your B2B brand?
Here’s six tips for getting the best from your business’s brand:
- Explore your brand inside-out
It’s important to get under the skin of your business’s brand and understand the key values or attributes you want it to be associated with.
- What does your business deliver?
- What qualities do you stand for?
- What’s your position within your market?
- What do you want people to remember about your business?
Considering these questions can help lay the foundations for your brand’s success.
If your current brand identity (name and logo) or reputation aren’t communicating what you hope, it may be time to make a change.
- Develop your USP
Choosing a unique selling point (USP) can be a powerful tool when creating a successful brand, regardless of whether you’re operating B2B or B2C.
In a marketplace full of choice, having a key attribute which helps you stand out is powerful.
- What is it that makes your business different?
- Why should a customer choose you over anyone else?
- What is it that makes what you deliver unique?
Consider the car industry where, despite producing the same products, automotive brands use slogans to give car-buyers an instant idea of what makes them different. Audi choose ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’ (Advancement Through Technology) whilst BMW is ‘The Ultimate Driving Machine’.
- Make your brand memorable
With exposure to so many brands – both at work and in our everyday life – it’s impossible to remember every brand we come across in an average day.
It’s therefore increasingly important to create a brand for your business which is memorable to your customers.
Whether this is through a memorable name, attention-grabbing logo or a catchy slogan, it’s all about giving customers something to remember you by.
Here B2B can again learn from B2C brands. Many big consumer brands use colours – like the Cadbury’s purple or Coca Cola red. Others use a simple logo like Nike’s swoosh or Ford’s oval. Others use a catchy slogan like Subway’s ‘Eat Fresh’ or McDonald’s ‘I’m lovin’ it’.
Anything you can do to maximise brand recall will ultimately increase your chances of being the business your clients choose.
- Be consistent
It typically takes many exposures to a brand before it sticks in our mind. This is equally true with B2B branding.
Consistency is key. Branding is more impactful and memorable if customers are presented with the same look, feel and message at every touch-point.
Once you have a brand which stands out and has a strong USP, it needs to be consistently communicated – whether it’s on your website, packaging, at an event or in a press release.
It’s a good idea to create a set of brand rules – a document that states dos and don’ts regarding use of your logo, fonts, colours, tone of voice and key messages.
- Be true to who you are
A trap which some B2C and B2B brands can fall into is portraying themselves as something they’re not.
When reviewing your brand, many businesses become aspirational about who they wish to be and the future potential of their organisation.
There is definitely some value and sense in portraying yourself as the business you want to be. However, there is also a risk in alienating the customers which you have and those which you naturally appeal too.
For example, a prestigious brand which communicates a high-quality product or service can be counterproductive if you operate in a marketplace where value-for-money is your client’s chief aim.
- Make it eye-catching
In a busy world of B2C and B2B brands vying for attention, it can be important to stand out from the crowd.
Quite often, consumers spend just a few seconds considering their brand decision. This can be true of business customers too.
Particularly if you’re a new or ambitious business, you might need to consider what it might take for your potential customers to notice something new. What would your brand need to do to be chosen over your established competitors.
Whilst being seen is key, it’s important to stand out for the right reasons and communicate the right values too – so a neon yellow logo may not be the answer!
Get the most from your B2B branding with Full Mix Marketing
We’re East Anglia’s leading B2B marketing agency, specialising in delivering a full mix of marketing for businesses who provide what they do to other companies, organisations and professionals.
As a full-service agency we can provide any element of your strategic, digital or creative marketing – and have extensive experience in sectors including manufacturing, engineering, technology, IT, logistics, construction and business services.
If you need any help with your B2B branding or marketing, please get in touch