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Whether you are launching a new product or a new company, focusing on B2B brand development is imperative to success. It can be easy to simplify this process by assuming that a new logo and website will yield market success and brand notoriety. Unfortunately, it is simply not that easy and brand development involves many more components to see real results.
A brand shapes consumer’s perceptions about a company and its products. The development of a brand is all about the development of perceptions. According to marketing guru Al Ries, when developing successful brands there are two schools of thought. “One school [focuses] on the product. The other school [focuses] on the brand.” Concentrating on the product is a linear approach whereas focusing on the brand is much more nuanced. Brands are shaped by perceptions yet also influence those perceptions as well. And, like Ries says, “everything in life is perceptions.”
This is critical to B2B brand development because a company’s brand is their marketplace presence, and also their legacy. According to Forbes, not only are B2B purchases more valuable, they “matter more that [B2C] ones.” Forbes uses the example of a small cost purchase (toothpaste) vs. a large cost purchase (industrial turbine): “Buy the wrong toothpaste, and you can always change brands when the tube runs out. Buy the wrong turbine and you could hurt your company’s earning for years.”
Influencing your consumers and colleagues with a strong brand is a challenging process, so we have put together 4 keys to B2B brand development, with the intention to help guide you on your way to successful branding.
Your brand’s ability to makes sense and build traction in your specific market as well determining proper brand placement depends greatly on research. This research helps determine competition, threats, opportunities, target audiences, service attributes, strengths and weaknesses, and brand trajectory.
Without this information and consideration, it is rare to expect brand success. Hiring a branding agency, PR firm, advertising agency, and/or market research group is a great way to expedite this process, and provide you expert information in an organized and actionable format.
As a company or new product, you must define your brand. Answering the following questions will give your brand a solid shape and structure to support it as it grows over time:
These questions will help you understand your company and set the framework for your new brand.
This step assimilates all the research and development into action including: graphic design of company and/or product logo, colors, fonts, marketing collateral, brand positioning statement, supporting strategic messaging, and vision statements. Although previously mentioned, bringing in a third-party marketing team will ensure a thoroughly researched and methodical approach to this step. There is no need to take away from your own team’s productivity and time when you can have a team of marketing and design experts doing what they do best.
To ensure a successful brand position within your target market, you must be consistent. According to Forbes, “Given the proliferation of touchpoints and stakeholders – from customers to employees to shareholders – it is more important today than ever before to communicate a consistent brand experience.” Failure to practice consistency will lead to mistrust of the brand by customers, and reduced impact and influence of your brand on the market. It is easy to want to stray from predetermined brand attributes, whether they are a logo’s size, location, or color, or even new messaging. Straying from your brand guidelines quickly dilutes the brand, which can lead to misconceptions and confusion with customers – hurting the perceptions of your B2B brand. As Al Ries says, “There are no superior products. There are only superior perceptions in consumers’ minds.” And perceptions, like habits, are created over time. What better way to ingrain a habit, or create a perception, than with consistency.
Contact us should you have any questions or would like more information about brand development.
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