If you're a marketer, there’s a decent chance you’re sick of hearing about the importance of branding. Obviously companies like Coca-Cola, Nike, and Apple have extremely valuable brands that enhance the value of their products. But if you’re a business-to-business company, you probably have thought that how you sell your product matters a whole lot more than what you call yourself.
And why not take this approach? In the past, B2B sales were driven by a mix of financial equations, ROI, and maybe some interpersonal relationships if you were lucky – they were rationally considered decisions. Your logo, your business cards, and advertisements were only meant to get your name and contact information out in front of the customers. Branding was nice of course, but not essential.
However, the sales process has changed. According to a study conducted by Google and the Corporate Executive Board (CEB) in 2011, 57% of the buyer’s process is already completed by the time the prospect makes initial contact with your sales team (Cite). This means your prospects are spending more time researching their options on the internet and less time talking with your sales team. Connecting with your prospects and building relationships online have become a necessity for B2B companies.
More recently, CEB has found that businesses consistently prefer to work with businesses that promote the benefits of what they sell beyond quantifiable ROI. Successful companies are not just selling products, they’re selling a way to make their client’s company better. Tapping into these emotions while supporting your services with concrete information allows you to connect with your prospect on multiple levels. Now more than ever, researchers are finding that emotional ties do, in fact, matter to B2B decision-makers because they want to work with a company that understands them.
By constructing and managing a holistic brand that connects the company directly with its prospects, you can begin to push your message past dollars and cents and build real, lasting relationships.
The Basics of Branding
When applied, the act of branding is ensuring a consistent presentation of your company and/or products. However, at its heart, branding is the conscious decisions you need to make about how you want your company to be seen.
Too many companies are making the same simple mistake: they build their web presence without taking the time to maintain a consistent brand.
A company could create a beautiful website, interesting content, and engaging social media profiles; however, if they neglect to provide a consistent identity for their visitors to engage with cross-platform, they simply can not build as strong of a relationship with their visitors.
Proper brand management creates a uniform company identity that your prospects can connect with emotionally regardless of whether they’re on your website, your blog, your LinkedIn page, or in your offices.
What is the mission statement of your company? Who are the clients/customers? What do they care about? Why should they choose you? What needs are you fulfilling?
The answers to these questions will help you find a voice and presentation for your company that will resonate with your target persona. And once you've identified it, you can ensure your brand works across the various platforms you interact with your prospects.
5 Tips to Remember When Branding Your Web Presence
1. Different Channels, Different Uses, Same Voice
You have a variety of channels for different uses: LinkedIn for business relationships, your blog to attract new website visitors, your Facebook to showcase the culture of your business, and so on. Embrace these tools to show how well-rounded your company is but remember to maintain a consistent logo and voice that your target persona can relate with while discussing diverse topics on various platforms.
2. Stats Only Go Far
If you have convincing statistics that prove that your company is better than your competitors, by all means tell them to the world. Just remember to relate your stats to the big picture. It’s the difference between “Our process is 40% faster than the industry standard” and “By using a process that is 40% faster than the industry standard, we can help your products ship on time, every time.”
3. Have a Personality
What is your company passionate about? Show your visitors and prospects that you actually care about the work you are doing. Feel free to show excitement, frustration, relief – these are emotions your prospects can relate to and empathize with. I doubt your prospects get excited about working with a boring company.
4. You Can’t Live a Lie
Don’t try to be something you are not. If your company’s niche is producing the inexpensive option, you need to embody it. Promote yourself across channels as the affordable solution to your prospects' problems. Share content that teaches businesses other ways to easily cut costs. On the other hand, if you make the most high quality product available on the market, embrace it! Don’t promote with content focused on cutting costs, rather promote content on your superior process or other high-quality products your prospects would be interested in. Accurately branding yourself will attract the prospects that will actually work with you.
5. Have Fun
I know it sounds cheesy but if you embrace your company’s personality, your culture, and your passions, not only will your prospects be more interested in what you have to say but you’ll have much more fun producing it. Trust me, it’s what we do at Weidert Group every day.