The business dictionary defines branding as the process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product in the consumer’s mind, mainly through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme. Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers.
Some believe that branding is only necessary for B2C businesses and not for B2B. They assume that branding is a waste of time and funds for B2B.
They believe that:
- B2B deal with a narrow audience, so what’s the point.
- Price and service is the factor which helps the customer decide rather than logos and business cards.
- They believe that B2B clients are more rational decision makers, the emotional factors attached to branding plays no role.
These are the common misconceptions they’ve in mind. But, I am going to share my views and why I disagree with these conceptions. With the help of the following brand elements, I will explain why I believe branding helps bring a voice to any B2B company.
- Business Cards
“A logo is to a business as your face is to you.”
Logo design establishes your brand image. It expresses your brand’s personality, values and principles. The same way you can distinguish between an HP or Mac laptop (other than the structure) , a logo helps you distinguish between businesses.
How will a customer distinguish between you and your competitor, if there’s no way to distinguish?
A brand is capable of creating a stand for loyalty, trust, faith or market appeal based on how it is projected or marketed.
It helps you in establishing ownership, solidifies customer loyalty and establishing your image among your clients and leads.
This is another important element for any company’s branding. The way you communicate should reflect your brand values. But, what are brand values? These are what the customer sees and how he feels during his contact with the company. It affects the customer’s decision whether to make a purchase or not, an investor to whether invest in your company or not.
Every particular individual has his/her own way of talking and writing. That’s how people can distinguish their favourite novelist’s writings from other writers .
Similarly, the way your business communicates, the pattern and technique distinguishes it company from others.
Whether you’re mailing your clients or approaching your leads or updating a tweet on twitter or posting an article on your blog, it should tally with your company’s values.
Even before a lead approaches you a tagline can explain a lot about your business. These are words or phrases which are used to reinforce company’s brand and help them stand out. It’s an effective way to communicate a brand’s Unique Selling Proposition or commonly known as USP powerfully.
For example, Intel one of the largest B2B company in the world, their slogan is “Experience What’s Inside”, which correctly speaks for the kind of products they develop ( semiconductor chip).
Another example is AMD which is a semiconductor company based in USA, whose slogan line “Enabling today. Inspiring today.” gives an idea of what they’re trying to do.
Whenever you or any of your employees meet a probable client or an influencer outside office, the first thing you’ll do is pass on your business cards to them. The other person has no idea about your business when they haven’t visited your website or your workplace. At that moment it is the first form of contact or passage of information to them.
And as it is said, first impression stays. To make a good first impression your business card should include your logo and tagline of the company, which again will represent the values your business stands for.
When visitors come to your website they encounter your brand experience. You can mould it either in a disordered fashion or tell them a story you want them to hear. For example, Qualcomm is a global leader in wireless technology. It has a very simple website and uses the storytelling approach to express its brand values.
Your website is your online face for the visitors. The color scheme, content, design & layout and innovativeness on the website explains how strong your website is. It makes your business as recognizable, differentiable and consistent as a company from others.
What do you notice first when you walk into a restaurant or hotel. The ambience right? The same is what a client or lead does when he enters your business place. He notices your workplace.
Companies like Google, Facebook and Zappos have build their offices that reflects their brand. And a lot of startups also follow the trail.
Your workplace also represents your work culture and how your company functions. So, when someone walks into your office he/she should leave from there with an impression. An impression about what your brand values.
Though branding is not a necessity but in this competitive world who doesn’t want to leave a mark? And branding helps you just do that. It helps you drive customer decisions and competitive differentiation. Research also shows that there is a correlation between brand strength and financial performance. Focus on this key question: Who are the audience you need to influence and how do you want to be viewed by those audience? Design a long term plan accordingly.
It’s time for B2B companies to realize this and step up their brand management activities!