Branding is the way that companies communicate with customers, differentiate from competitors and create a name for themselves. Your company’s brand is not a tangible item—it goes beyond a logo, color palette or design element. It takes on a personality that frames your product, service or company and evokes feelings in your customers about the relationship they have with your company. These feelings and perceptions are formed by their collective experiences with your company. In short, your brand is a promise that you make, and, more importantly, how you deliver on that promise.
77% of B2B marketing leaders say branding is critical to growth. – Circle Research
In B2B marketing, branding is critical to your company’s growth and success. Think of all the touchpoints your brand has along your customer’s journey from a website visit to a form submission to a phone call with sales to a social post. Its critical to keep your brand message up to date and relevant to your target audience(s) to ensure a satisfying and consistent experience.
Below are six questions to help you evaluate and elevate the state of your brand message.
Does your message speak to your core values?
When evaluating your current key corporate messages, it’s important to make sure they align to the core values of your company. Core values represent what your company stands for and believes in, and shape the experiences you create for your employees and your customers. They should evoke the same positive emotion for your customers as they do for your employees. According to the Harvard Business Review, 64% of customers cite shared values as the primary reason they have a relationship with a brand.
Are you addressing who you are, what you do and why it’s important?
This may seem like a simple series of questions to ask, but often companies have a hard time clearly articulating who they are, what they do and why it’s important. This simple formula is the key to creating your core brand message and will serve as the foundation to creating subsequent brand messages. Your core brand message communicates your value to your customers in the simplest of ways.
Is your messaging differentiating you in the market place?
Positively differentiating your brand from competitors is foundational to forming connections to your target audience. A differentiator is a characteristic of your company or offering that truly sets you apart from competitors and positions you in an advantageous way in the marketplace. Your differentiators must be true, important to your target customers (ie: addressing a pain point) and must be provable. Evaluate your current messages and make sure they speak to why your company or product is different to ensure you are speaking to your target audience.
Are you speaking to your target audience?
48% of consumers expect brands to know them and help them discover new products or services that fit their needs.
Naturally, knowing your target audience well is critical to businesses success. One of the best ways to show you know them well is creating relevant content and messaging that speaks directly to their interests and needs. If you don’t know who your target audience is and what they care about, it will be virtually impossible to reach them and can establish negative associations with your brand. By developing clear buyer personas, you will be able to finely tailor your message to the audience you are trying to attract. Now is a great time to evaluate your current buyer personas and ensure your messaging is aligned to their defining characteristics.
Is your brand message resonating with your customers and prospects?
Markets and buyers evolve and so must your brand as the buying habits, needs and preferences of your customers and prospects change. Branding is not a static exercise that is done once and left alone. Evaluate your brand often to determine what shifts, if any, you need to make. A great way to gain insight into this is by talking with your customers, prospects and lost deals. Marketers are seeing more of a focus overall on customer marketing in 2019 and beyond. Seek out frank and genuine feedback on whether your brand message is resonating with them and if your brand is keeping the promises you’ve made.
Are you using a consistent message across all your brand assets?
Consistency is key to branding success. In fact, consistent presentation of a brand increases revenue by 23% on average. Presenting your brand consistently over time means customers will be more likely to adopt your brand values and make a purchase. However, being consistent does not mean your brand needs to remain the same forever. Related to our previous point, creating and delivering a consistent brand experience better enables you to evolve your brand as needed. Review your brand messaging and positioning on your website, in your collateral and talk with your internal teams to make sure every experience a customer has with your brand is both a consistent and satisfying experience.
Make your brand better
Remember, don’t rest on your laurels. Ask and apply these 6 questions to ensure your brand message is on point or to get it to where it needs to be. Your company’s success depends on it.