What B2B Companies Get Wrong with Digital Brand-Building
By Will Reynolds
8 Min Read
The importance of good branding is deceptively easy to understand. Intuitively, we can all see the value of thoughtfully-defined positioning statements, well-crafted visual assets and a finely-tuned brand voice.
It’s the actual execution where many B2B companies stumble. The reasons B2B brands fail to create and sustain compelling brands range from a lack of time and money, to a complete misunderstanding of what branding is. That’s a shame, as data from Circle Research finds that “77% of marketers say that branding is critical to future growth.”
Is your company’s growth at risk? Below, we’ve covered three common mistakes B2B companies make with digital brand-building. Avoid them to protect your business’s future.
They don’t have a clear understanding of what branding is
Your brand is not your logo. It’s not even your product or service. Instead, per the definition given by Branding Journal:
“Branding is the process of giving a meaning to specific company, products or services by creating and shaping a brand in consumers’ minds. It is a strategy designed by companies to help people to quickly identify their products and organisation, and give them a reason to choose their products over the competition’s, by clarifying what this particular brand is and is not.”
Your logo, fonts, colours and other visual assets are encompassed by this process, but they don’t represent its entirety. A full branding exercise involves defining your company’s key features, who it stands for, how it’s distinct from the competition, and how that value is communicating to customers.
If you haven’t been through a professionally-led branding exercise before, consider working with a creative agency partner who can help you make sense of the process and create a compelling brand that can be consistently applied across multiple channels.
They don’t brand consistently across platforms
Data from Action Card suggests that “It takes an average of 5-7 brand impressions before someone will remember your brand.” In the brick-and-mortar world, those impressions may all occur within the same channel. Online, however, digital touches can occur on your website, on review sites, on social media and on a number of other channels.
That’s why brand consistency is so important. According to Crowdspring, “90% of consumers expect that their experience with a brand will be similar across all platforms and devices. They expect a seamless transition between web and device-native applications through colour, flow, and overall quality.”
If your B2B company hasn’t invested in brand consistency across all these different platforms, the cumulative impact of these impressions will be diminished. Effectively, you’ll need more touches in order to create the same brand awareness impact.
To prevent this from occurring:
Develop a brand voice that defines how you’ll engage with consumers and the specific language you’ll use to do so across multiple channels
Use consistent colours, fonts, graphics and logos everywhere your brand publishes (to the extent possible by each property)
Optimise your owned channels – including your website, business profiles, review site profiles and social profiles – with your logo and other brand assets (for example, consistent pictures of your products or facilities)
They forget to have fun
Digital interactions are ephemeral. They’re fleeting – and they should be fun. Even the most buttoned-up, conservative B2B brands should remember that the key to digital engagement is, well, being engaging.
Take Intel, which SmartInsights contributor Jill Quick called out as a brand doing social media well:
Quick notes that the brand was able to use Facebook “to celebrate the diversity of its own engineers. It called attention to the strength of Intel’s corporate culture and surely went a long way toward helping its recruitment efforts.”
Achieve a similar effect on your own by understanding your customers’ innate humanity. Gainsight CMO Anthony Kennada, in an interview with Vengreso’s Bernie Borges, suggests that proper B2B brand marketing is the key to connecting with consumers. “It’s a new world,” he states. “Customers have the option to join your community or your competitors’ community. Building a likeable brand involves authenticity to humanise it.”
The New World of B2B Branding
These three mistakes aren’t the only ones you’ll face as a B2B company. But by understanding what branding is, how it should be implemented across multiple digital channels, and how it can help your business tap into the essential humanity of your customers, you’ll be able to avoid these and other pitfalls on the road to branding success.