Branding is not a dirty word
Branding is not a dirty word. Branding is sustainable. Branding is growth. Branding is the powerhouse behind demand generation. Below we discuss how marketers can overcome the blockers surrounding branding and how they can successfully build their brand with the support of key stakeholders.
Investment Starts with a Robust Brand
Preparing for an uncertain future is difficult, but it’s not impossible. Like the little piggy who opted for bricks instead of straw or wood, it starts by building a solid house to deter unforeseen huffing and puffing.
In B2B, that house is your brand. So why do companies build their brand without proper planning and resources before going to market?
Yes, B2B needs to embrace data-driven marketing to face significant challenges.
Yes, B2B needs to resonate with their audience on an emotional level.
In a recent survey among marketing decision-makers in B2B companies, we found that a whopping 28% of respondents reported that the lack of investment in brand building is a primary challenge.
It’s not surprising given the current state of the economy.
Companies are cutting costs wherever possible, and marketing budgets are often the first to be slashed.
This is a short-sighted approach. Building a strong brand is essential for long-term success. B2B companies that don't invest in their brand first create weak foundations, which their competitors can take advantage of.
The good news is that there are plenty of ways to build a strong brand on a tight budget. Investing in precise content marketing, for example, is an excellent way to build a strong brand without breaking the bank
If you put £100 into a demand gen campaign, you've got some metrics there, where you can say, "Look, that £100 is going to drive £500 of revenue, or whatever. You put £100 into a brand. You don't have those firm metrics you can hang your hat on and say, it's going to deliver that. - David Turner, Chief Marketing Officer at IRIS Software Group.
If you invest in brand building upfront, it has all of this material benefit throughout that engagement with your target audience, down to getting much better results from a demand gen perspective.
Building a Clear Brand Strategy
A clear brand strategy is essential for effective brand building.
Companies waste time communicating to prospects if they don’t have a clear brand strategy.
The difference in communication between management and marketers is the main reason for the lack of a clear brand strategy.
Marketers need to change and not be seen as a “colouring-in department”. They must demonstrate the correlation between marketing investment and results, with budgets often hanging in the balance. Marketers must find ways to prove that their efforts are practical.
A big challenge is speaking the correct language, the most important being finance.
It’s essential to have regular communication between management and marketing teams. This will ensure that everyone is on the same page and that the brand strategy aligns with the company's overall goals. For every pen portrait or brand awareness campaign presented in a gloriously designed PowerPoint deck, a CFO/CEO says: “That’s very pretty, but what does it mean to the bottom line?”
The difference between management and marketers is the main reason for the lack of a clear brand strategy. You need to clearly understand the target audience and the competition and create messaging that resonates with the target audience. Regular communication between management and marketing teams will ensure everyone is on the same page.
Without a clear branding strategy, B2B brands' reputations will plummet.
To create a clear and concise brand strategy, marketers need to start with the basics:
Define the company’s business objectives.
Understand the target audience.
Research the competition.
Develop messaging that resonates with the target audience.
Once a foundation is laid, marketers can build a cohesive brand strategy to help guide their branding efforts.
Investing in branding and advertising initiatives is another crucial step in building a solid brand. These initiatives can help raise awareness of the company and its products, differentiate it from its competitors, and build customer loyalty.
Some of the most effective branding and advertising initiatives include:
Developing a clear and differentiated brand identity.
Creating an integrated marketing communications strategy.
Investing in advertising that tells a story and builds emotional connections with the target audience.
Building a solid social media presence.
Providing excellent customer service.
By investing in these initiatives, marketers can help build a strong foundation for their brand, eventually leading to increased sales and market share.
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