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The value of visual branding for B2B

Why is a strong brand one of the most valuable assets that your organization can possess? Because purchasers are willing to pay a premium for a known quantity. Visual branding is everything for consumer products, or B2C – just consider Coke vs. Pepsi. There isn’t much of a difference between these products, but consumers tend to align fiercely with one or the other.

 A strong visual branding is just as important for B2B 

There’s a lot at stake for purchasers of large-scale B2B products and solutions. Making a mistake can cost thousands or even millions, and seriously damage a purchaser’s professional reputation. Choosing the wrong provider for an enterprise solution, for example, can impact an organization’s bottom line, when implementation dates are missed or critical systems malfunction. No one wants to be the guy responsible for a purchasing disaster.

blogFor your prospects, the strength of your brand translates directly into reduced risk and a streamlined purchasing process. A strong brand serves as a kind of shorthand. Trust, reliability, performance … your brand needs to somehow embody all the characteristics that are important to your customers, and to your company. So how do you ensure that your brand is as strong as possible?

There are many steps to building a strong, high-profile brand. In this blogpost, we’ll focus on strengthening your brand as it is expressed in your company’s visual identity.

 Visual brand identity 

In its simplest form, a brand is a symbol, or a mark. In a more complex form, it’s the essence, or promise, that your company represents. It’s what comes to mind when people think of your company – the sum total of all of their experiences with your organization, and the emotions that the relationship inspires. Your visual brand identity is the graphic representation of this idea.

A good visual identity captures the essence of a company, and conveys it in a glance. It sounds like a lot of responsibility for a graphic element, but in the hands of the right designer, it is possible to create a compelling visual identity that embodies your company’s essence and aligns with your business identity.

 What should you consider in developing or refining your visual identity? 

1. Your logo and your visual identity are your most important marketing tools. 

Your logo works hard for your company. It’s out there on your ads, business cards, signage, trade show booths, social media, websites, etc. It’s a tough job, but good logos perform very effectively.

2. Creating a strong brand is a process, but it’s worth it.

Recognition, loyalty, credibility … a strong brand delivers dividends in multiple ways. Your visual brand needs to support and underscore all of your brand values. It takes time and thought to define a brand, and to develop a visual brand identity. But it pays off when you have a visual identity that speaks for itself – and can stand with the best in your industry.

3. B2B purchasers may be focused on business, but they’re still human.

Your prospects may be part of a buying team, and they may represent a large organization, but they still respond to emotion and story-telling. Visual identity for B2B should be just as compelling and resonant as it is for B2C. It’s important to put the business story first for B2B, but it needs to be about humans as much as it’s about systems or products.

4. It’s never too late to “fix” your visual identity.

Maybe your logo was designed by one of your software engineers, or your company founders sketched something rudimentary on a napkin. Now, it’s in widespread use and you don’t know how or even if you could fix it. But this doesn’t have to represent a problem. Instead, this can be an opportunity to develop a strong brand and visual identity, and then explain to your industry how you’ve strengthened your company’s focus along with your brand.  

5. There are important differences between B2B and B2C when it comes to branding and visual identity.

We can learn a lot from our B2C marketing counterparts about creating dynamic brands and visual identities, but the B2B marketplace has its own norms and expectations that need to guide B2B brands. To read more about the 4 key differences between B2C and B2B branding and positioning, click on the button below to download the branding & positioning checklist. 

Download the Branding  & Positioning checklist                   arrow.png

 

Maarten Van Erdeghem
Maarten Van Erdeghem
Digital specialist at Living Stone

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