You can’t have a brand experience if you don’t first understand what your brand is and what you stand for. Your brand is underpinned by three components, which put together form the brand vision. The vision sets out a clear direction for the brand.
- Brand values: The shared values the company adheres to that sit behind the brand.
- Brand future: There needs to be a vision about what will happen to the brand in its future.
- Brand purpose: What is the brand’s ambition and what does it stand for?
Having set out the vision for your brand, there are three more vital elements to come up with. Can you answer the following questions?
- What’s your unique offering, and who is it for? This is your ‘brand promise’, the statement of what customers can expect from dealing with your brand.
- How will you deliver your brand promise? This is the brand performance, the execution element.
- How will you communicate the brand promise? This is the brand positioning, the element that differentiates your brand from the competition in the marketplace.
A mission statement, which defines the company’s goals for owners, employees and its customers. A good test of a mission statement is does it differentiate your business from the competition?
With all these in place, you should have a good idea of your brand personality. There are five main types: sincerity, excitement, competence, sophistication and ruggedness. Understanding this personality will influence the form your brand experience will take.
Few B2B organizations are brand-led – the majority are product or service focused – so trying to build a brand experience from a standing start may be a significant challenge.
Developing a ‘brand charter’ with a B2B copywriter – which sets out this vision, and what it means for everyone in the organization – can be an effective way of getting the message across and developing a shared sense of purpose. The charter should include all of the above information, and detail how all these elements interact.
The B2B Brand Messaging Framework
Start with a Brand Messaging Framework - a B2B copywriter tool that helps brands embody and communicate their strategy and story across their different lines of business; also a helpful way to visualize the individual messaging elements that come together to comprise it.
There isn’t one absolute right way to construct your brand messaging framework, but there are core elements that are present in most instances.
- BRAND PROMISE (OR TAGLINE) - A succinct capture and blend of what you will deliver, do or embody. Example: BMW – The Ultimate Driving Machine
- POSITIONING STATEMENT - A single sentence (ideally) that communicates what your brand, product or service is and, broadly, who it will serve. Example: [Blank] is the automated cybersecurity platform of choice for financial industry institutions that prioritize data protection.
- AUDIENCE - Think of this as a macro view of your ideal client profile and buyer personas. Example: IT, Risk and Security leaders in financial institutions across the globe with more than $100 million in assets.
- MISSION - A visionary or aspirational view of what you want your brand to accomplish. Example: To inspire healthier communities by connecting people to real food.
- VOICE (TONE) - Your voice articulates the tone - the personality and perceptions that your messaging should elicit to match your desired positioning. Examples: Innovation, Practical Experience, Human, Serious-minded
- ELEVATOR PITCH - A succinct synopsis of your brand/product/service – what it is, what it solves, who it serves - that can be communicated in the span of an average elevator ride or similarly brief interaction.
- BRAND PILLARS - The 3-4 most important selling points for your offering. Example: Simple, Reliable, Secure
5 Hallmarks of Effective B2B Branding
On the heels of our focus on messaging, it’s understandable for many to think about branding in the context of what a company’s external outreach “looks” like. Although visual presentation is a key component, one’s brand is far more than just a logo and style.
Your brand is the all-encompassing identity of your company and what it stands for. It’s made up of the perceptions and feelings customers experience when interacting with your products or solutions. It’s felt and understood both internally and externally. An effective brand is:
- Something people are willing to pay a premium for
- A positive differentiator against other alternatives
- The name people use when discussing your offering with others
- Easy to recognize and mentally frame
- Something which has a beyond-the-product personality
As with messaging, it’s important for organizations to continuously evaluate their brand with a B2B copywriter against evolutions in the market and their offerings. It’s also critical that you guard against personal bias and all-too-easy rationalizations that your brand is “fine for now” or that “we’ll just know when it’s time” to assess where it stands.
3 Ways to Create a Great B2B Brand Experience
To customers and leads, your brand is more than the logo, packaging or website design. It’s also the perceptions and feelings created via their interactions and experiences with the brand. Although we should continuously strive to improve prospect and customer interactions with our brands, this aim takes on added importance when marketing momentum loses steam. Here are three principles a B2B copywriter will aim to follow.
Make mundane moments meaningful.
Seemingly small moments of delight can deliver big dividends. Whether it’s a handwritten “thank you” on every invoice, beautiful and smart packaging, or offering tailored, digital proposals instead of “sign-scan-return” PDFs, seek out every opportunity to exceed expectations.
Make it easier to engage.
Don’t discount tactical drivers of engagement. For example, page speed is a search engine ranking factor and customers expect loads of 2 seconds or less, yet many do not actively assess their performance. Elements such as online chat, progressive profiling (which lessens the burden of information on inbound forms) and responsive design can also improve engagement.
Promote your personality and positivity.
Personality isn’t restricted to consumer brands. Many B2B organizations effectively convey their personalities with smart social media and add genuineness in everything from website login welcomes (e.g. “Let’s start innovating, Isabel”) to clever error messages (e.g. “Oops, that didn’t go as planned”).
Building your brand essentially equates to building your business. Ask yourself and your teams - How can we move more prospects from consideration to conversion? How can we achieve higher levels of brand advocacy and loyalty with our customers?
Brand upkeep, be it streamlining your website user experience or checking in with clients throughout their engagement on ways to improve, should not be viewed as an optional exercise. Continuously listen to your customers and act on what they tell you.