Brand Management & B2B are seriously linked.
A business cannot create a brand overnight. It doesn’t matter what industry you belong in, whether it’s consumer goods or services; brand management is challenging.
In today’s saturated world of marketing messages, you need to be able to make the ordinary into something remarkable. This is especially important in a B2B environment where the goal is not to stir potential business partners into irrational purchasing decisions, but to convince them of the value of your offer.
It takes a lot of effort before you begin to get recognized by your fellow businesses.
Some misconceptions marketers may have about B2B branding include:
- Businesses are rational. They don’t need to be swayed emotionally,
- B2B purchases are all about the relationship of the seller and the buyer,
- Price is all that matters in B2B marketing,
- B2B products are often too complicated to simply be reduced to a tagline,
- B2B only caters to a narrow set of audiences
Even with these arguments in mind, you must remember that B2B businesses are still run by people –people with emotions. And as we have learned from various marketing resources, emotions are directly related to purchasing decisions.
Now that you know about the importance of branding well, let’s take a look at steps that define the process of developing and maintaining a strong brand:
- Define your goals
The first step to managing your brand image is to determine your company’s goals. This will require a meeting among all the important stakeholders in the company. These individuals know best what the fundamental values of the organization are, so they must also be able to define what success means for the company.
- Create a powerful brand identity
This is basically the skin of your brand: the name, the logo, and the tagline. It’s what people will see first. Don’t skimp on this one and spend time brainstorming for ideas. You will also need to hire an experienced graphic designer to do the design for you.
- Identify your target market
You can’t please everybody so don’t even try spreading your brand too thinly by sending out general, vague marketing messages. Find out who your ideal buyer is. The more specific, the better. This allows you to craft brand messages that resonate well with your audiences.
- Create a unique selling proposition (USP)
A USP should be very powerful as this will define your company’s edge against other competitors. There may be many things your brand is good at but businesses have no time to look at your whole catalogue. You need to narrow it down into one single big idea.
It must be easy to remember.
One look at your USP should entice the target buyer into learning more about your company. Once you’ve achieved this, you are ready to present your other offers.
- Promote your brand internally
It’s pointless maintaining a brand identity when your staff doesn’t even know about it. If an outsider asks one of your employees about your brand, they should at least know what the company’s goals are. They are, in a way, brand ambassadors after all.
Make sure that everyone in your company is aware.
Share the information to all the employees as they too are stakeholders in the company.
- Allocate the appropriate marketing budget
Determine the amount it will take to create the level of brand awareness that you want. You will need to have already defined your metrics and adjust expectations accordingly depending on how effective your campaign is.
- Measure everything
The only way to know if your brand management efforts are working is to have a predefined set of key performance indicators (KPI) ready. Track what’s working and what’s not. Do more of what’s working and experiment with new ideas to get your brand out there. Rinse and repeat.
- Engage with your customers
Brand management requires constant engagement with customers. You simply cannot release promotion after promotion without knowing how your audiences feel about your brand.
A good place to start branding is on social media. Give your customers an avenue to talk about your brand.
This is also a place where you can post updates, reply to feedback, and conduct surveys.
B2B marketers are beginning to realize that brand image can have a huge impact on the success of a business. By developing your brand identity, you have a clear goal for the company, align your employees with those goals, and most importantly, acquire a larger share of channel margins.
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