I’m a lover of everything brand. Branding is essential in the marketing of all products and services, including B2B purchases. The buying decisions made within corporations are still done by people. Buyers not only respond and are influenced by the emotive qualities (imagery) of branding, but also by the “brand proposition” or the unique, relevant messaging conveyed by marketers. Business people buy the brands they trust.
The brand platform forms the basis of how a brand is perceived and guides the consistent use of the branding message throughout all communication vehicles, including the website, PR, and advertising. The companies that excel at branding are able to develop a loyal “brand community.”
A positive brand experience and image are important as they relate to customers, employees, partners, and other constituents. Brand can also refer to the personality or persona of the product, service or company.
There are three pillars of a banding platform: brand attributes, brand promise, and brand positioning. All are interdependent and needed for branding success and creating economic value for organizations. Let’s look at each of the elements:
Also known as core values, brand attributes represent the “essence” of the brand. Brand attributes are a set of characteristics that identify the physical, character and personality traits of the brand, similar to the attributes that we may use to identify people. It’s really the “heart and soul” of the brand – where the branding process begins.
What can customers expect from an organization, across people, products, and services. Customers need to understand what a company stands for and that experience should be consistent across all touch points. Organizations must deliver on their brand promise or they just won’t matter anymore to their customers. In this age of social media, broken promises can easily end up spreading with exponential speed.
Brand positioning comprises the notion of differentiation; a view of the brand that is different from the competition. This should not be confused with a tagline. The brand positioning ensures that a company’s messaging is unique in the mind’s of its customers.
Creative teams within marketing groups utilize brand positioning statements when producing new digital communication assets. A good positioning test when creating a brochure, for instance, is by asking: “Can any other company’s logo be substituted for ours?” If the answer is yes, the messaging isn’t differentiated.
Branding is an essential function of marketing and requires focus on key messaging, differentiation, and building competitive advantage. With a proper branding platform in place, the marketing group adds more value for the company and is better aligned with stated business goals.
From the President or CEO’s perspective, a strong, developed brand makes it much easier to articulate a company’s future direction to all internal and external stakeholders. The brand is the rallying cry of the organization.
I wonder what role branding plays within your B2B business?