Big businesses understand the importance of great branding. In order to stand out from competitors in crowded global marketplaces, brand managers are constantly curating their company’s brand story, philosophy, and client execution. When done exceptionally well, a brand name can replace a general noun in the cultural vernacular (think Kleenex™, Band-Aid™ and Post-It™) and thus secure a space in the collective social memory for years to come.
Smaller businesses in the B2B sphere can learn a lot from consumer-facing brands since increasingly crowded marketplaces mean that strong B2B branding is more important than ever. From sole proprietorships to small businesses that service corporate clients, branding is a major factor in what sets you apart from your competitors.
Though your company might not have a dedicated branding department, simply by virtue of the fact that you have a business name and provide a product or service means that you have a brand.
Whether you are maximizing the potential of your business’ brand, however, is another story. Let’s look at what comprises a brand and how thinking like a brand manager can benefit your business.
What’s in a Brand?
A brand is the sum of all the visual, tonal, and identity elements of your business. The visual elements include things like your color palette, image choices (in ads or on the web), and design style used in your marketing materials. The tonal elements include everything that speaks to your brand’s “attitude.” That includes the language you use in your web copy, printed materials, newsletters, social media posts (Tweets, Facebook, etc.), and how your service representatives or employees speak to your clients on the phone or in emails. The identity elements of your brand include your business name, logo, tagline, business card, the products and services you offer, and even the uniforms or dress code in your office.
Why is B2B Branding Important for Businesses?
Just like any other business, those who operate in the B2B sector must forge a deep connection with clients in order to remain top of mind and promote lasting business relationships.
A solid brand foundation does the following for your organization:
- Communicates to your clients that your business understands their needs
- Explains to clients why your business stands out from the competition
- Helps clients remember your business’ unique traits
- Informs your employees about exactly what your company stands for which assists in their daily business decision-making
How to Develop a Strong Brand Strategy
Developing a strong brand strategy for your company can be summed up in three words: clarity, unity, and consistency.
- Develop a clear and concise message about what your brand stands for, its internal values and attitude, and how what you offer to clients is different than your competitors.
- Work with a B2B branding company to write a “brand bible” that outlines every detail of your brand (visual, tonal, and identity).
- Make sure that each department in your business is educated about the importance of a unified brand strategy and that every department understands how their piece fits into the whole of your company’s brand identity.
- Check in regularly with each department to ensure that the elements of your brand are being implemented on a consistent basis across all platforms. A slip in one area can create confusion among clients and can chip away at your unified brand message.
Branding is the foundation that consolidates your company’s message, both internally and externally. B2B branding might seem overwhelming at first, especially if your company has never given it much thought. However, fully exploring your business’ branding potential can set the foundation for your company’s staying power, now and in the future.