Whether your brand has long been established, is getting a refresh, or is a new creation, it’s important to maintain a consistent, cohesive B2B brand. This is easier said than done as we live in a noisy, competitive world.
That being said, there are a few proactive measures you can take to control your B2B branding in your marketing strategy.
Define Your B2B Brand
It happens all the time. The marketing manager has a clear idea of what the company’s brand is and the major value of the brand offering. This isn’t always the same as the CEO’s brand vision or the sales manager’s understanding of the brand. You may not think this happens at your company, but it happens at even the smoothest run organizations.
Start by bringing all the leadership together. With all of the key players in the room, discuss what defines your brand.
- What are your main values?
- What is your brand promise?
- How do your clients view your brand?
Determine whether your brand is fun and carefree, serious and down to business, or innovative and cutting-edge. Don’t just discuss your brand, DEFINE it. Write it all down.
Establish Brand Guidelines
After you have a clear definition of your brand, it’s essential to establish your B2B brand guidelines. This should be a document that you can share with any new hire, supervisors, salesperson, or designer you work with. The brand guidelines will list things like the tone of your materials and technical requirements like your Pantone colors, logo restrictions, and fonts.
If you don’t have an in-house designer, work with a professional designer to build out your B2B brand guidelines. Even if you don’t have many design projects, brand guidelines will ensure that any designer or agency you work with will be able to produce materials or content that is consistent and cohesive with existing materials.
Educate Your Team About Your B2B Brand
The biggest mistake we see is when the heart of the brand is held closely by one or two individuals and the rest of the organization is in the dark. Your brand should be visible throughout your organization, especially in the culture and in the people who work at your company. How can this be true if no one is educated about your B2B brand?
Don’t expect everyone in your organization to understand your brand. Educate them. This starts with sharing your brand guidelines and your brand vision but can be shown further through company events or highlighting team members who uphold the brand in their everyday work. For example, if personalized customer service is your primary brand message, take time to recognize employees who go above and beyond for customers and get great customer feedback.
Choose a Brand Watch Dog
Yes, you need a brand watchdog or watchdogs. Why? Because you want innovative people in your organization who are always pushing the envelope and trying to implement change. In some cases, this innovative spirit can spill over into trying to “innovate” your brand by changing the logo to a non-brand color, using a different font for effect, or trying to introduce something new to the brand without making sure it works with your existing brand. In most cases, it is done with the best intentions.
This isn’t a “tough-guy, going around making people feel dumb” position. It’s a careful, watchful position and includes reviewing all client correspondence (including sales emails), marketing materials, brochures, sales sheets, social media posts, digital ads, search ads, website updates, etc. Having a person or a committee who needs to review and sign-off on anything brand related is a great way to ensure it’s all cohesive, while also taking another step to educate your internal team. For example, your sales team lead may not know that she can’t change the color of the logo on a video she’s putting together for a client.
WWOBD? (What Would Our Brand Do?)
When in doubt, ask “What Would Our Brand Do?” Another way to phrase this is, “Does this fit with our brand?” When in doubt about a new brochure, new blog post, or even a new B2B web design – ask that question.
- Are the values and benefits represented consistent with your brand?
- Do the calls to action in the blog post represent what you want customers and prospects to know about your brand?
In some cases, it might be a minor tweak to make it consistent with your brand. In other cases, it may be off-base and need to be overhauled. If your brand is all about building value and a team member is running a 50% off ad, you may need to pull it and start over.
Looking for help with your B2B branding strategy? Contact us today to see how we can help you build a clear, cohesive, consistent brand in a busy, noisy world.