If you search “great brand examples” on Google, you’ll get a list of well-known company names like Coca-Cola, Apple, Starbucks, and so on. Business-to-business brands may not make the list, but that doesn’t mean branding doesn’t matter when growing a B2B business. Brand marketing can be just as effective for B2B marketers as it is for B2C. In fact, B2B companies with mature brand marketing initiatives generate higher marketing ROI and boost overall engagement. This blog posts will teach you how to build a B2B brand that sells.
Ultimately, B2C and B2B buyers are human beings, driven by a mix of logic and emotion whether they’re buying for their company or themselves. Still, there are key differences between the B2B and B2C buying experience and target audiences that impact your B2B brand marketing strategy. Here are the 3 pillars of building a B2B brand.
Defining Your B2B Brand Positioning
Understanding your Unique Value Proposition
To first step in building your B2B brand is defining your position in the market, which starts with defining your Unique Value Proposition (UVP). Your B2B brand’s UVP consists of what you offer, how it benefits your target customers (what problems you solve), and why you’re different.
Your UVP gives customers a reason to believe in your B2B brand and offerings. Communicating your UVP will look different across channels, but its core elements remain consistent. Everyone at your company, from sales to marketing to leadership, should understand your UVP and reference it frequently.
To deliver a full B2B brand identity and brand experience, you need clear understanding of your UVP. However, it’s also important to think beyond the tangible benefits your brand and understand the “why” behind your work. The most effective B2B marketing campaigns combine short-term lead generation and long-term brand-building. These campaigns combine rational messaging about your offerings and benefits with emotional messaging about your mission and values.
Establishing Brand Consistency
Another important driver of B2B brand positioning success is consistency. Brands can increase revenue up to 23% by presenting their brand consistently across platforms and media. Brand consistency help consumers recognize your brand. It’s important to have clarity about your B2B brand identity so you present a consistent brand across marketing efforts.
Your B2B brand identity includes your brand visuals, brand messaging, and brand personality. It’s a lot to understand and keep track of when prioritizing brand consistency. That’s why it’s important to have clear, professionally-design brand guidelines to define all aspects of your brand identity. Getting these guidelines designed by professionals, like the branding experts at SketchDeck, guarantees quality and ease of use.
If you have multiple services or products, it’s also important to understand your B2B brand architecture. Your B2B brand architecture allows you to position each of your products or services within your overall brand story. Knowing how your offerings relate to one another and what kinds of customers want each one will also make your brand marketing more consistent and streamlined.
Once you have a complete view of your B2B brand positioning, B2B brand architecture, and B2B brand identity, you can craft your brand strategy. The main goal of your brand strategy is staying top-of-mind for potential customers. That’s where brand awareness comes in.
Raising B2B Brand Awareness
Brand awareness is the degree to which consumers recognize a product by its name — ideally in a positive light. B2B brands build brand awareness to make sure they are top of mind when B2B buyers look for and decide to buy a solution. Building brand awareness is an essential piece of how to build a B2B brand.
B2B buyers rarely buy products or services impulsively. A B2C consumer may decide to buy an Apple watch on a whim. However, business decision-makers don’t have the same flexibility when they’re making purchases for their teams or business. Increasing brand awareness helps B2B brands stay relevant throughout the longer B2B buyer’s journey.
Let’s take a look at the B2B buyer’s journey. The B2B buyer first becomes aware of a business problem or need. Then, they conduct extensive and often time-consuming research. This stage can last months, even years, depending on the product.
Ensuring that your B2B brand is visible throughout this research phase is critical. It’s equally crucial to stay visible by providing informative, credible, and engaging content.
Fortunately, your B2B consumer is expecting to receive your content. 70% of people would rather get information about a company from an article or blog post rather than from a traditional ad. As you develop your thought leadership content strategy, keep in mind these three content marketing initiatives to keep your brand top-of-mind for your audience:
- Valuable content that resonates with your target buyer personas
- A B2B social media strategy that educates and builds trust. (75% of B2B buyers and 84% of C-level executives surveyed by IDC use social media to make purchasing decisions.)
- An SEO strategy that increases your reach through search engines
Make sure you customize your content and keywords to the phases of the buyer’s journey. How do you know what messaging speaks to your target personas in various stages of the buying lifecycle? This question brings us to B2B brand messaging, another important part of how to build a B2B brand.
B2B Brand Messaging Across the Buyer’s Journey
Wondering how to build a B2B brand that sells? You need to understand the B2B buyer’s journey.
The Marketing Rule of 7 states prospects need to be exposed to your brand and brand messaging seven times before they’re convinced to engage. However, serving them the same ad seven times in a row won’t cut it. You have to tailor your messaging to a customers stage in the B2B buyer’s journey.
We broke down a customer’s needs and mindset across the buyers journey along with content recommendations for each stage. If you need help designing content for any stage of the buyer’s journey, SketchDeck can help.
In the awareness stage, a potential customer discovers that they have a problem and they seek ways to solve it. You should provide potential buyers with content that gives a quick overview of your mission and how you can solve their problem.
Recommended content: Provide potential buyers with content that quickly defines your brand’s mission and how you can solve their problem. Use easily digestible formats like blog posts, videos, webinars, paid ads, social media posts, and events to get the conversation started.
In the consideration stage, the buyer continues to look for solutions and narrows down options. Buyers in the consideration stage are ready to go deeper. They want to know why your product is different from your competitors. Therefore, they need more information than they did in the Awareness stage.
Recommended content: Some effective content formats for the consideration stage include e-books, white papers with first-party data, email marketing, case studies, and sales enablement content. Include clear CTAs that take buyers to informative landing pages to help them advance down the funnel.
Conversion / Decision-making
The buyer has narrowed their solutions. Now, they are comparing you to your competition. They are reviewing features, prices, processes, and more of the finer details. Some of the content in this stage overlaps with the Consideration phase, but needs to include more specific product features.
Recommended content: To help the buyer get over the decision-making hump, consider offering free trials, demos of your products, product-focused webinars, and detailed case studies. You can also consider offering customized pricing packages.
Here’s where all your hard work should pay-off. In the delight stage, your consumer converts to your product or service, and their expectations are met (or exceeded). At this stage, your communications should help your new customer have a smooth experience aligned with the expectations they developed during the previous stages.
Recommended content: This content includes on-boarding videos and documents, welcome packet materials, product feature details and education, FAQ’s and other how-to’s and troubleshooting documentation.
Your customer converted, but your work doesn’t stop there. Maintain your customer’s belief in the value of your brand and products. Otherwise, you risk losing their business to a competitor. Keep delivering on your brand promise through multi-channel customer support.
Recommended content: Content that supports customer retention can combine chatbots and real people. Retention content include special offers for loyal customers and exclusive educational opportunities for your customer and their network.
While retaining customers is essential, it’s more valuable to turn loyal customers into advocates. Support the customer who wants to share their positive experience of your brand with others. This generates more awareness and brings you qualified leads.
Recommended content: You can turn customers into advocates through social media posts and programs encouraging user-generated content and engagement. You can also offer rewards for frequent posters and contributors and referral programs offering discounts to the referrer and the referee.
Creating a B2B Brand and Customer Relationship That Lasts
When you’re thinking about how to build a B2B brand that sells, you need to consider the B2B buyer’s perspective. B2B customers often need to get buy-in from other stakeholders at their companies before purchase. As a result, they have to be diligent about the brands and products they select. That’s why B2B brands need to establish a valuable, consistent brand identity, and leverage that brand to support customers throughout their buyer’s journey.
You’re wondering how to build a B2B brand, but you should be asking yourself how your B2B brand supports customers. Your B2B brand supports customers by providing clear brand positioning, deploying relevant, consistent messaging that conveys your value and making sure all communications are delivered at the right time. Effectively engaging your B2B buyer throughout the buyer’s journey leads to long-term relationships and customer advocacy. That’s how to build a B2B brand that sells.