If you’re a small or a relatively new B2B start-up, you may have often pondered upon the importance of building your brand strategy and its value for your company/business. In case you weren’t already aware, branding does matter when it comes to driving sales in B2B. You may have often heard people say I swear by this brand of clothes or I order food only from this particular brand. Even if different brands and companies sell the exact same products and services, people swear by the top brands.
Why is that? The products and services could be the exact same but it all comes down to the brand value and the reputation of it. The marketing world loves to talk about branding. Startups and small companies frequently look for ways to get mentions online so they can start building their brands.
Before you set out to work on your business model/company, read on to understand the basics of what exactly is required to build brand, the proper strategy, and understand how building a brand for your business will lead to greater ROI, loyal lifelong customers and enable you to dominate the industry.
Branding is, in effect, a method of creating an image around your company, product, or service. You’re probably familiar with many multi-billion dollar brands that have anchored themselves in your life. Ignoring branding in favor of marketing may work in short-term, isolated cases, but the fact is every modern company that has driven above-average profitable growth has invested heavily in building their brand. Your brand is your company’s most valuable asset. Brands are business tools that drive commercial value. A strong brand increases the chances of customers choosing your product or service over your competitor’s. It attracts more customers, at a lower cost per acquisition, who are happy to pay a little more, and will buy a little more often. A strong brand will also help attract, motivate and retain your second most valuable asset: employees. And it can work as a barrier to entry for future competitors, in effect creating a legal monopoly.
The ROI of branding is borne out again and again, in study after study, for B2C and B2B brands alike. The strength of a brand can be measured against 10 factors:
According to multinational market research firm Kantar Millward Brown, the strongest brands are those that are:
Meaningful- They appeal more, generate greater “love” and meet the individual’s expectations and needs.
Different- They are unique in a positive way and “set the trends”, staying ahead of the curve for the benefit of the consumer.
Salient- They come spontaneously to mind as the brand of choice for key needs.
The most relevant brands are those that are:
- Customer Obsessed: Brands that invest in, create, and bring to market is designed to meet important needs in people’s lives.
- Ruthlessly Pragmatic: Brands that make sure their products are available where and when customers need them, deliver consistent experiences, and make life easier for their customers.
- Distinctively Inspired: Brands that make emotional connections, earn trust, and often exist to fulfill a larger purpose.
- Pervasively Innovative: Brands that don’t rest on their laurels, but rather push the status quo, engage with customers in creative ways, and find new ways to address unmet needs.
Making branding your top priority means taking the time to focus on what drives customers to make the decisions they do. It’s one thing to understand your competitive advantage over other brands in your industry. It’s another to have a calculated brand strategy to influence customer choice and drive long-term business value by leveraging the ROI of branding.
Business owners looking to increase their investment in branding essentially have three options:
- Increase the strength of their current brand along with its price premium
- Reposition their brand by redefining customer experience, or re-shifting focus to currently unmet needs
- Disrupt brand category conventions or radically change their business model
Psychology has shown that customers perceive the same type of personality traits in brands that they do in other people. Effective branding capitalizes on this, creating strong, lasting, and meaningful connections with audiences. It enables you to define the emotional experience you want stakeholders to have each time they come in contact with your company. Done properly, investing in branding builds loyalty, preference and transforms companies from commodities to experiences. This is why branding is one of the most important investments a company can make. While it’s not as easy to measure as a digital marketing campaign, strategic investment in your brand provides a stable, long-term ROI.
Here are some examples of successful Brand Building: