(9 minute read with examples of successful B2B brands)
This blog post will cover 7 things successful B2B brands do in order to create an engaging brand and get ahead of the competition! In today’s competitive business environment, it is more important than ever to have a strong brand identity. I like to say “A company without an identity that resonates with customers is like a person without a name.” In this post we will cover not just B2B brand messaging and the need for consistency there, but also marketing elements that need to be considered. Each “success factor” is highlighted with a B2B Brand Caselet example.
1. Create a strong brand identity
To create a strong brand, you should pay close attention to your B2B brand messaging. This is not just your company’s logo, name and tagline, but the whole brand messaging architecture. The design and consistency of these brand messaging elements will help consumers connect with the values of your business. You want them to feel like they’re getting something more than just a product when they buy from you!
How can b2b brands integrate their brand identity with experience?
Brand experience is created and delivered by the entire organization, not just marketing. To integrate your brand identity with your experience, create a consistent customer journey that is easy to navigate.
B2B Brand Experience Case Study: Happiest Minds
When Happiest Minds was being conceptualised by Ashok Soota, Paul Writer was roped in to help translate his vision. The logo was crowd-sourced to get greater participation, the mission statement was articulated with the acronym SMILES, and went to adopt the “Mindful IT company” as its first tagline. To keep it unique there was an extensive exercise to understand how the customer and employee experience would be different for a mindful organization. Everything fit together.
2. Be consistent in your B2B Brand messaging
Be consistent in your brand messaging by keeping to a strict persona or brand voice. This will ensure that customers get the same experience every time they interact with one of your company’s channels, from social media to product descriptions and customer service updates.
Actions must also reflect your messaging. So if your messaging stresses ‘flexibility’ then the contracts must also build that in.
This is where language can be tricky though, so make sure your agreements are clear about what you’re expecting. B2B brands must ensure the customer experience is uniform across all channels including contracts.
How does Account Based Marketing help B2B brand messaging?
Account Based Marketing helps in messaging by providing businesses information about their customers to marketing teams tasked with developing that account. This information provides the business with an opportunity to create messages that are specific to their customers.
You can use Account Based Marketing to strengthen the integration of your messaging with the business goals and customer requirements.
B2B Brand Case Study: Wipro
Wipro has a strong commitment to building a trusted and personal relationship with all its customers. In this article, Anand Savla of Wipro outlines the principles of a good ABM strategy.
3. Build relationships with prospects and customers
It’s not just about acquiring customers, it is also about continuing to develop the relationship. For instance, how often do you send out a newsletter and stay in touch with your list of subscribers?
Is your Customer Experience integrated with your brand voice?
Brands that do not have a consistent customer experience will fail to provide customers with value and leave them feeling dissatisfied. They may also have a negative effect on the company’s brand reputation.
B2B Brand Case Study: Freshworks
In an article on CX that works there’s an example from Freshworks on letting the brand voice shine through:
When Alex a FreshDesk customer replied back to an onboarding mail sent from CEO’s email address to check whether he was reading them. Girish Mathrubootham, Fresh Desk CEO wrote back to Alex “The team uses my email address to connect with customers, but I read replies from customers and write back to them if necessary.”
4. Speak the language of your audience
Speak the same language as your customers. For instance have a single brand voice across all mediums so that it’s clear who is speaking to them and what they are expected to do.
The buying journey – whether it is for a B2C or B2B brand – has distinct stages – Awareness, Interest, Desire, Acquisition (AIDA) – and the audience requires different content at each stage.
The key to success is being focused on meeting the needs of your prospects and customers. Be aware of the various stages in a buying journey, and offer content that is relevant and timely for each stage.
For example, at the Awareness stage you will need to educate your prospects about what they are not aware of. At Interest they will need more detailed, feature-specific information. Similarly at other stages, offer content that is relevant and timely for them.
When does AIDA work best?
AIDA can be most effective when you offer a free trial of your product or service to those who are not yet convinced. AIDA is best done in sequence with a content strategy mapped to each stage.
Here’s an example from the luxury real estate industry of how to get through the entire AIDA cycle in a week.
B2B Brand Case Study: HCL Technologies
HCL Tech created the “one marketing dashboard” based on AIDA to track the impact of each marketing element. The Dashboard is used to show the company’s leadership the impact of marketing activities on overall funnel generation. Top executives will see a unified view of marketing success, prepare budgets for result-oriented campaigns, and build a sense of urgency by mapping market share relative to competition..
Key Takeaway: Build relationships with prospects and customers.
5. Show, don’t tell
Stay focused on meeting the needs of your prospects and customers at each stage in a buying journey. Consider using demos and free trials as much as possible. Most successful B2B SaaS brands offer a freemium model so that customers can experience the product before committing to it.
If this is not possible look at content formats such as testimonials and case studies so that customers can get a better idea of what results they can expect from your product.
How can demos be used to increase sales of B2B Brands?
The use of demos can help to increase sales. Demos are a very effective tool for marketing products and services. A demo shows the customer what the product or service can do and how it will function.
B2B Brand Case Study: Hubspot
Examples of successful B-to-B brands that offer “try before you buy”:
HubSpot – Hubspot is a leading provider of software, services, content marketing solutions for small businesses. The company provides everything from lead generation tools to conversion rate and offer many tools for free.
6. Take feedback from customers
Listen to feedback from prospects and customers so that you know how to improve your product or service offerings in order to meet their needs better.
A direct engagement with customers always makes the brand stronger. Unfiltered customer feedback is the way to improve your products, process and systems. You can edit your B2B brand messaging based on this two-way insight.
When the B2B brand knows the customer, you can do personalized offers. This is also called “Segment of One” Marketing, irrespective of how you fulfil (direct or indirect)
This one aspect itself is sufficient to invest in a Direct to Customer (DTC) go-to-market model for your brand.
B2B Brand Spotlight: HP India
As Nash Tupil, head of HP store for India says in this article, “In my view, there are four types of customers. Brand lovers, Brand Neutrals, Silent Switchers and Golden Annoyers. This you can’t compute this by a NPS Survey, but comes only by reading the qualitative feedback, which we get when we run DTC brand.”
7. Have a mission beyond profit
No matter how much you grow and evolve remember the original mission. Whether it is to organize all the information in the world, or make life easier for salespeople, stay true to that. Everything your brand does has to tie back to this goal. No-one wants to work with an organization that just wants to make more money for itself. We all want to associate with brands that are part of a bigger movement.
B2B Brand Spotlight: Paul Writer
For example at Paul Writer we want to help you articulate your value propositions better. We do this through content, research, workshops and consulting engagements.
In the end, it is important to remember that your branding and marketing efforts need to be engaging. You can do this by incorporating design elements from other successful brands with a similar audience base or message as you. The resources I’ve shared in this post should help get you started on the right path towards building an inspiring B2B brand that people will want to work for and buy from! If you are interested in learning more about how you can create a compelling B2B brand, sign up here for my newsletter today. My newsletter goes out to tens of thousands of discerning marketers since 2010.
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You may also be interested in: Examples of successful Indian B2B SaaS brands