May 1, 2019 |
By Kara Jensen
Over the last decade running Bop Design, I’ve worked with hundreds of B2B companies helping to develop their brand and marketing platforms. One thing I find remarkable is marketers tend to overcomplicate things when talking about B2B branding. One way they do this is by introducing new jargon for concepts that have been around since the beginning of commerce. I like to keep things simple and focus on foundational elements.
In this article, I’ll discuss 3 things you absolutely need to develop a successful B2B brand.
Know Your Business
You will never build a successful brand on an identity crisis. Companies that are constantly reinventing themselves don’t have a strong brand. While it’s necessary to evolve, changing direction or a general lack of focus will kill your business and ultimately your brand.
Successful B2B brands know who they are and what they stand for. They draw a line in the sand and aren’t everything to everyone. For example, Bop Designs is a boutique B2B marketing agency that offers web design, branding, and content marketing services. We don’t work with B2C brands, we don’t do ecommerce websites, we don’t do PR, etc.
Read more: 15 crazy branding stats you need to know.
Knowing who you are, is just as important as knowing what you are not. Turning down business that isn’t in alignment with your brand is critical. It gives you the opportunity to say yes to opportunities where your business can do its best work and thus build up your brand reputation.
“The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything.”
— Warren Buffett
Know Your Customer
This is just as critical, if not more critical than the first pillar. Because if you don’t know your customers, then you don’t understand the main value of your business. I often have clients that find it difficult to articulate their ideal customer profile. It can be somewhat challenging to define all the specifics when you are just starting out or making a pivot in the market place, but you still need to have a general sense of the types of companies and roles you are targeting.
Unless you have unlimited money and time, you need to be specific about who your ideal customer is, so you can spend your marketing dollars wisely. Your B2B brand must speak to them – let them know you can solve problems and provide services they need. For example, Bop Design works with mid-size B2B companies across the globe primarily in the following industries – software, technology, engineering, industrial and consulting. We work with marketing leaders within the organization as an extension of their marketing team. If a Fortune 100 B2C company came to us with a $5 million marketing budget, it’s something we couldn’t possibly take on – it’s too much risk for us and it wouldn’t be a good experience for the client. If you don’t know who your customer is, your branding will be watered down and ultimately ineffective.
Branding is more than just your logo and messaging. Your brand is how you treat your customers, your employees, and your vendors. Your brand values and story are crucial to creating a consistent brand experience. It’s important that everyone in your organization understands and practices these values and upholds the brand story.
There should be no mystery with anyone within your organization on who your company is, what you stand for, and who your ideal customer is. Ultimately all your B2B marketing and branding initiatives, along with everyone across your organization, are speaking the same language and delivering a consistent experience to your customer.
“Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying basic fundamentals.”
― Jim Rohn
Read more: How to maintain your brand in a noisy world.
Know Your Brand, Know Your Customer, Be Consistent, and Know When to Say No
I said I like to keep things simple and it’s true when it comes to building and maintaining a successful B2B brand. First, know your brand. Second, know your customer and don’t be afraid to alienate prospects that are outside of your market. Third, be consistent both in how you represent your brand, tell your story, relate your values, treat customers, educate employees, etc. A cohesive, successful brand is managed by marketing professionals that ultimately know when to say no and draw a clear line in the sand.