A company’s B2B brand strategy can change on occasion. Whether it is undergoing a merger or acquisition or planning to enter a new market, reevaluating your brand strategy comes into play. If you’re new to creating a B2B brand strategy, you might wonder what it is and why it matters so much. A brand strategy is how you communicate who your company is, what it solves and what it stands for. It should drive all your work as a marketer, guiding every email campaign, blog, social post and similar touchpoint. Here are five simple steps to follow to define or refine your B2B brand strategy.
1. Outline Your Goals
It might seem unusual to talk about goals first, but it is important to understand what you are working towards. This is an important step before diving into the components of your brand strategy. Goals can be qualitative, such as increasing brand awareness, or quantitative, like a specific number of new clients. It is important to remember that you do not have to be glued to any one outcome. Having more than one goal is great, and even something we recommend. You also might realize that as your brand strategy progresses, you need to adjust your goals. This is part of the continuous process of shaping your B2B brand strategy, which often requires calibration and evolution.
2. Establish Your Brand Voice
A brand voice is a personality your business uses to communicate to your target audience and through marketing efforts. It defines the positions and perspectives (e.g. thought leader, experienced practitioner) as well as the personality characteristics (e.g. serious, playful, academic) that you want your brand identity to convey. You may know of brands that have resonated with you based on how they communicate their brand to you.
The best way to establish your brand voice is by brainstorming. Collaboration in small settings can help your team develop the tone you want to have. There might be a few key phrases that represent your voice that you can lean on and circle back to when crafting your voice for marketing messages. This messaging backbone solidifies a consistent voice used across all platforms and communications.
3. Envision Your Visuals
Visuals are a huge component of a B2B brand strategy. Visual identity elements include logos, colors, iconography, imagery and more. These visuals are the recognizable aspects of your brand that clients and partners associate with your brand and messaging. For all aspects of brand strategy, consistency in execution is key. Putting together brand identity guidelines, which spell out how visual elements of your brand is represented, ensures consistency and boosts recognition. B2C brands like Starbucks and McDonald’s are recognizable by their logo alone. While B2B brands aren’t the first to come to mind, these B2B examples might surprise you. Don’t overlook the visuals; they are a huge factor!
4. Consider Your Target Audience
When it comes to your target audience, it is important to know how to best serve them. While a specific voice may speak to you, it might not be ideally suited for your audience. For example, if you are promoting an event that your team is excited to be at, you can use a light-hearted attitude via social or email outreach. In another example, if you are issuing a press release targeted at cybersecurity companies, it is better suited to be more serious and factual. Referring to your buyer personas is another great way to guide your brand strategy actions and ideation.
5. Define Your Marketing Channels
Tying the bow on top of your brand strategy is defining marketing channels. This component of your brand strategy identifies the best channels to effectively reach your audience. Do your customers engage on social channels like Instagram or Twitter, because they’re mostly a younger generation? Or are they engaging on LinkedIn because they are a key decision-maker at their company? Are they on your website a lot and need resources and messaging there that they can access? Does it make more sense to reach them through highly targeted emails? Your brand strategy will include a mixture of channels. Understanding where and how you want to reach your audience can be critical as each channel sometimes calls for different language, cadences and messaging.
Remember, your brand is defined overall by the collective perceptions of your customers, your market and your community in terms of who you are, what you solve and how you do business. Having a clear brand strategy in place provides anchor points to ensure those perceptions are as positive as possible.
Your B2B brand and strategy and messaging are important to get right. That’s where we can help! If you have specific questions about defining or refining your brand strategy, request a free marketing consultation or contact us today!