Taking the pulse of your brand and communications
Brand is always a tricky topic for B2B marketers. As we look longingly at the brand-building spend of our B2C cousins, we do what we can. Most would probably agree that it is much harder to get sign-off for brand campaigns than lead generation. Part of the challenge lies in understanding where our brand is today.
The brand pulse
There are many options to try and measure the health of your brand. Some are easier than you think. For example, a simple survey of customers would give you an idea of their views. In a similar vein, a brand audit or health check would look at your brand goals and explore how well you are achieving them. This may in turn lead to a new brand strategy and a request for brand-building budget. I have previously referred to brand audits as leading to a B2B brand renaissance. If you don’t have any brand goals today because you don’t know how to measure them, that’s your number one priority and a brand audit can underpin that.
Another possibility is to measure the response to your brand using neuroscience techniques. Although less common in B2B, B2C businesses are flocking to neuroscience in their droves with spend forecast to increase by 15.6% per annum. The biggest and best B2C brands love neuroscience, but nobody wants to share the secret sauce.
Mapping your brand identity
An important exercise for any brand is to map its purpose. This distils the very essence of what a brand represents to their customers, reflecting what is important to clients and conveying a sense of purpose.
Why is this so important? A strong sense of purpose and being and a clear communication of value makes a brand something customers want to associate with. Consumers are much clearer in their desire for brands to make a positive impact in the world. Businesses may want to see that there is a corporate conscience, such as supporting local charities or environmental sustainability goals.
Once this purpose is defined, we can move onto brand identity. This is usually characterised in six ways:
You can read more about brand identity and personality in this article by Think Beyond.
Communicating brand value
Now that you have checked your brand and developed your brand purpose and identity, it’s time to think about communicating this. This is where the brand-building spend comes in.
Getting the message out could mean a rebranding, but almost certainly will involve inbound marketing content and campaigns. But, before getting carried away with the execution, you need to get everyone on board (including the board itself).
Once your brand purpose is established, which is different to your value proposition, it is important that everyone gets excited and behind why you exist. This is where you may want to consider some external support to get everyone pumped up and energised behind the new brand. Obviously, there is no point in tweaking a brand if the sales team shows apathy. Similarly, you cannot forget about the communication to customers, who really need to understand the rationale behind any change to the brand.
Getting the pulse racing
Brands are funny things. While some people don’t want to spend on them, you can’t live without them. The strongest brands communicate all the purpose and values of the organisation and customers want more of it. When you think of some of the leading B2C brands such as Apple and Amazon, there is a real buzz around them and what they do. These brands have been carefully crafted over years, not weeks or months. The ‘space’ that these brands have positioned themselves within is well-known and understood.
If you can’t convince the board of the need to invest in brand, perhaps a brand audit is a good place to start. That means identifying where the brand needs to be and charting a path to get there, especially if there is a belief in long-term sustainable profits over short-term gain. Even a B2B business with ambitions to sell in 2-3 years needs to think about brand value and how it is perceived by potential customers. Cost-cutting and determination can only go so far, your brand and the communication of it does the rest.
Why not check out Propolis, our exclusive community for B2B marketers to share insights, learn from industry leading marketers, and access our best content. Propolis includes a Hive (group) specially dedicated to brand and content strategy.