Follow these three easy steps to start building an effective Brand Strategy that will boost all your sales and marketing communications.
There are many different opinions on what Brand Strategy actually is and if you ask a few marketers you may well get a few different answers! We believe it can best be described as the difference between just creating pretty pictures and actually shaping the perception of your business, creating more value and maximising your competitive advantage.
It is especially important to do this with Business to Business (B2B) brands as the sales cycles are so long and sectors fiercely competitive with often only nuanced visible differentiators between brands when they are marketed, especially in the SME sector. We also believe that without a strategy, it is possible to become completely lost in the crowd or having to rely purely on personal relationships; both of which will hinder your growth potential.
If you are new to Brand Strategy, we invite you to follow these three steps to help you create something powerful that will springboard your marketing communications.
Three steps to shaping your B2B Brand Strategy
1. Divide your audience
Divide your audience into no more than two to four groups. This allows for some variation, yet provides enough focus so that you can keep things simple and actually drive through change in your marketing communications. The groups can be made up of any sets of businesses – be it existing clients, specific sectors, job roles or anything that feels especially characteristic and will make a useful subsection of your entire audience.
2. Determine which of these groups your business belongs to
You will most likely belong to one of the following; Disruptors, Leaders, Challengers or Blenders. These groupings determine how you should position yourself in your market/s.
3. Define and match up your story
Your story (your brand essence, if you like) can then be matched up to the above. Stories are important because that is how we remember and they allow B2B brands to drive engagement with a more 'sell for' instead of 'sell to' theory that is defining modern marketing. This can then easily be tested out in theory on mock-ups to see if it passes the 'So what?' test – before you create any costly materials. If you have some friendly clients, it is great to ask their opinion and you will often find out some more about the current perception of your sector and your business specifically.
Cut through the noise
This strategic understanding of who you want to help, what you offer and how to cut through the noise are the foundations from which you can build up a powerful and effective Brand Strategy. If in doubt, keep things simple and build up your brand assets and messaging in layers until you see the results you are looking for.