The practice of branding began as early as 2,700 BCE to differentiate one person’s cattle from another by burning a distinctive symbol into the animal’s skin. Branding today is still a concept used to differentiate companies from their competition – but includes much more than just a unique symbol.
There are three core parts to a B2B brand – Visual, Message, Experience. These elements must work together to establish a cohesive brand. If a brand isn’t cohesive, it’s not a brand.
Your visual brand comprises your logo, B2B website design, business cards, signage, trade show booths, presentations and any collateral you develop to market your company. It’s critical these materials have a consistent look – they should be using the same fonts, colors, imagery style, design elements, logos.
A B2B brand guide is a critical tool to share internally and with any outside vendors that help develop branding assets. You know a visual brand is well-executed when you can look at something and know it’s from a particular company before you even read it.
Read more: 3 Pillars of a Successful B2B Brand.
Your brand messaging includes things like your company tagline, B2B website copy, elevator pitch, blog posts, advertisements, presentations and videos. It’s critical your message has consistent themes woven throughout and should use the same style of writing, punctuation and terminology to explain your products and/or services.
Your brand message and visuals can often be developed in tandem with the help of a B2B marketing and branding agency. As part of any rebranding project, the agency should supply you with a brand guide at the end that covers the critical pillars of both the brand message and visuals. Again, this guide should be shared internally and with vendors that help develop any marketing materials.
Read more: How to Refine Your Brand Story.
The experience people have with your company – whether they are clients or employees – is the most essential, but often overlooked, part of your brand. Your brand messaging and visuals should convey and set expectations for how their experience with your company will be.
For example, many of our clients tout their customer service as a core pillar of their brand message. Now, if I’m a customer of this company and I don’t receive excellent service, the brand experience is inconsistent.
If your B2B company sells Leadership Training, but you don’t offer leadership training to your employees, it undermines your brand. Your employees can be incredible brand ambassadors as long as what you say and how you act is consistent. The same goes for clients – if the branding that sold them on your company aligns with the experience they had working with your company and products, then you’ve done your job is creating a cohesive brand.
Managing the brand experience comes down to creating products and services that do what they say and providing your employees with the resources and training to help deliver these products and services.
Branding Is Not Just a Logo
Remember, your brand is much more than just your logo, and when building a cohesive brand, you want to keep the experience, message, and visuals consistent.