You’ve done all the hard work that’s involved in creating your B2B brand strategy, including defining all of your graphic elements, from font to colors, and creating brand guides to ensure consistency across all formats and vehicles. You’ve defined your value proposition, and you’ve developed your buyer personas.
Are you looking to build your B2B brand? In this era of inbound marketing, the focus is all digital. The internet is where your B2B brand will flourish (or perish), so it makes sense to concentrate your marketing efforts on strengthening your digital footprint. In this blogpost, we’ll look at the three main components of your organization’s digital presence – your website, blog and activities on social media – and explore how you can maximize your impact in each area for 2018.
According to research company Forrester, the buying behavior of B2B customers has changed. For 74% of prospects, fully half of the research process is now conducted online, before a purchase is made. That means there’s a lot more riding on your website and content. Interaction with your sales reps comes a lot later in the process, meaning your content has to do much of the heavy lifting when it comes to presenting your products and company. To push the pressure even higher, B2B buyers expect the same kind of ‘experiences’ in interacting with you online that they get with consumer offerings.
If your business identity is the “personality” of your organization, your visual identity is the graphic dimension that communicates that personality to your audiences. And if there’s a mismatch between your visual identity and your brand or business, your customers and prospects may feel a subtle sense of discord – and possibly even confusion.
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.
Does your brand have a story? Some brand stories are so well-known that they’ve become part of popular culture. We all know the story behind Facebook, and Mark Zuckerberg. It’s the same with Virgin and Richard Branson. We’ve seen their companies and products evolve, and it’s almost like we know them – we’ve made an emotional connection.
Isn’t your visual identity just your logo and a letterhead? Well, it is, but it’s also a whole lot more. Think about all of the opportunities you have to highlight your visual brand ID – websites, business cards, office décor, digital and printed brochures and newsletters, signage, trade show booths, banners, products, product packaging, t-shirts, pens, mugs and other swag … the list is practically endless.
For some B2B companies, developing a brand is an afterthought. The focus is on refining and marketing the product, and the brand ends up being created on the fly, by the engineering department or even company execs, just in time for a product launch or an important trade show.
Way back when, our ancestors started the concept of “branding” when they burned an identifying mark onto their cattle so they could easily pick them out of a herd. Today, branding has evolved far beyond simply identifying a product, and is more about creating psychological connections between purchasers and products.