Welcome!

Blog Feed Post

Beyond the Basics: 5 B2B Branding Elements You Might Be Overlooking

Brand strategy is one of the most critical aspects of the growth of any business — large or small, B2C or B2B. B2C branding is far more art than science, because purchases are largely driven by emotion, and branding success means you have effectively addressed those emotions.

B2B branding, on the other hand, is a bit more science. Purchases are driven by logic and needs more than emotion, with data and facts guiding the buying decision.

Now consider this: According to MediaPost, in 2016, two out of three B2B marketers rank “generating high quality leads” as their biggest challenge and top priority for the year.

Think you can generate more and more of these high quality leads without an effective brand strategy? Think again. When making a purchase, buyers will typically consider several different service providers or products — but in general, they all offer the buyer the same basic value. In those scenarios, the brand is often the only true differentiator.

All too frequently, though, B2B companies focus their brand strategy entirely on basic things like logos and messaging guides, when in fact there are several other components that contribute heavily to the thought process associated with the B2B purchase decision.

Search engine rankings and associated copy

More than half of B2B companies are increasing their SEO spend in 2016. I suspect that if I asked any one of those marketers what matters to him or her from an SEO standpoint, the answer would revolve around driving quality traffic and, ultimately, leads to the company website. Brand wouldn’t come up.

And yet it should. Often, a search engine is a buyer’s first and most impactful exposure to a B2B brand. In fact, according to a 2014 study, 94 percent of B2B buyers do online research before purchasing.

Does your brand fail to show up in the top few results for a critical search category? Three quarters of users don’t scroll past the first page of search results — so if you show up four pages deep, that’s a loss not only for traffic to your website, but for your brand, as well.

Or maybe your brand shows up near the top, but you butchered the meta title tag and description tag by skimping on the writing. A discerning B2B buyer will notice that, and it will shape perceptions.

First impressions are everything.

Website

Fifty-five percent of web users spend fewer than 15 seconds actively on a webpage. Think anyone will stick around if your website doesn’t deliver the information they were expecting? Think it’s OK to provide a poor navigation experience? Think no one will notice if you make a weak brand statement on that first landing page? Remember, these are B2B users — perhaps a little smarter than the average bear. They can make a lot of judgments in 15 seconds.

Your website is your brand. In this day and age, if you can’t convey what your brand is all about on your website, it ain’t gonna happen anywhere else. Take Eminem’s advice: You have one shot, one opportunity. Are you going to capture it or let it slip away?

Social media properties

Admit it, B2B marketing director. You slap those Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn logos in your header or footer just because you feel like you’re supposed to. Because everyone comes to your website to then go off and check out each one of your social media properties, right?

Sarcasm aside, your social media properties are an important component of your brand strategy. They are an extension of your website, and in many cases, allow you to showcase the true personality of your brand more than a website allows you to. They represent an opportunity to humanize your company for customers, prospective customers, and prospective employees. And why would you want to do that? Potential buyers who feel a strong connection to your brand are 60 percent more likely to consider and purchase your product over buyers who don’t feel that connection.

Digital ads

The standard Google pay-per-click ad is a 25-character headline, 35-character first line, 35-character second line, and 35-character URL. A Twitter website card allows for 116 characters and an 800 x 320 image. With that little real estate, there’s no way a digital ad can really enhance or damage your brand, right?

used-toilet-paperhttp://www.rightsourcemarketing.com/cms/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Used-... 300w, http://www.rightsourcemarketing.com/cms/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Used-... 768w, http://www.rightsourcemarketing.com/cms/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Used-... 250w" sizes="(max-width: 974px) 100vw, 974px" />

Think again. These ads are just as impactful for your brand as the television, print, or radio ads that dominated yesteryear. Do not mail it in on these. Even something as straightforward and concise as a direct response ad should portray a certain brand identity.

Content

Interested in really lowering the value of your brand? Create low-quality content. This is near and dear to my heart, since Right Source lives and breathes the development and marketing of high-quality content for ourselves and our clients. We don’t believe in doing anything less — and frankly, I look down on those who do.

It’s laughable that many brands still produce content that is promoted as educational, but is really just a thinly veiled sales pitch. According to MarketingCharts, 75 percent of B2B buyers want branded content that helps them research business ideas, but 93 percent of brands focus their content on marketing their own products and services.

Software companies, especially those of the eight-, nine-, or 10-figure valuations, are the most frequent violators of the 80/20 rule, which says that 80 percent of your content should be purely educational, with no direct intent to sell. (I’ve covered the technology world’s obsession with software and how it has negatively influenced marketing here and here.) If you want to build your brand, you have to produce quality content that provides value to your audience.

There you have it: five new(ish) factors that influence B2B branding, brand strategy, and brand awareness more than the average businessperson might think. So the next time your CEO tells you it’s time for a “rebrand,” make sure you consider not only the basics, like logos and messaging guides, but these critical digital components as well. And if you’d like to talk about building your B2B brand to support your business objectives, I’m all ears.

The post Beyond the Basics: 5 B2B Branding Elements You Might Be Overlooking appeared first on Right Source Marketing.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Mike Sweeney

Mike Sweeney and Right Source Marketing help organizations build their marketing strategy, organize the structure to accommodate that strategy, and deliver the specific services to execute that strategy. We do this through a unique model that provides senior level strategic consulting as well as specific services that cover every area of an organization’s marketing plan.

Latest Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that DXWorldExpo has been named “Global Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation is the key issue driving the global enterprise IT business. Digital Transformation is most prominent among Global 2000 enterprises and government institutions.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Datera, that offers a radically new data management architecture, has been named "Exhibitor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Datera is transforming the traditional datacenter model through modern cloud simplicity. The technology industry is at another major inflection point. The rise of mobile, the Internet of Things, data storage and Big...
Kubernetes is an open source system for automating deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications. Kubernetes was originally built by Google, leveraging years of experience with managing container workloads, and is now a Cloud Native Compute Foundation (CNCF) project. Kubernetes has been widely adopted by the community, supported on all major public and private cloud providers, and is gaining rapid adoption in enterprises. However, Kubernetes may seem intimidating and complex ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Calligo, an innovative cloud service provider offering mid-sized companies the highest levels of data privacy and security, has been named "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Calligo offers unparalleled application performance guarantees, commercial flexibility and a personalised support service from its globally located cloud plat...
"We focus on SAP workloads because they are among the most powerful but somewhat challenging workloads out there to take into public cloud," explained Swen Conrad, CEO of Ocean9, Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"Outscale was founded in 2010, is based in France, is a strategic partner to Dassault Systémes and has done quite a bit of work with divisions of Dassault," explained Jackie Funk, Digital Marketing exec at Outscale, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"I think DevOps is now a rambunctious teenager – it’s starting to get a mind of its own, wanting to get its own things but it still needs some adult supervision," explained Thomas Hooker, VP of marketing at CollabNet, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We are still a relatively small software house and we are focusing on certain industries like FinTech, med tech, energy and utilities. We help our customers with their digital transformation," noted Piotr Stawinski, Founder and CEO of EARP Integration, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We've been engaging with a lot of customers including Panasonic, we've been involved with Cisco and now we're working with the U.S. government - the Department of Homeland Security," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We're here to tell the world about our cloud-scale infrastructure that we have at Juniper combined with the world-class security that we put into the cloud," explained Lisa Guess, VP of Systems Engineering at Juniper Networks, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
There is a huge demand for responsive, real-time mobile and web experiences, but current architectural patterns do not easily accommodate applications that respond to events in real time. Common solutions using message queues or HTTP long-polling quickly lead to resiliency, scalability and development velocity challenges. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ryland Degnan, a Senior Software Engineer on the Netflix Edge Platform team, will discuss how by leveraging a reactive stream-based protocol,...
"With Digital Experience Monitoring what used to be a simple visit to a web page has exploded into app on phones, data from social media feeds, competitive benchmarking - these are all components that are only available because of some type of digital asset," explained Leo Vasiliou, Director of Web Performance Engineering at Catchpoint Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Your homes and cars can be automated and self-serviced. Why can't your storage? From simply asking questions to analyze and troubleshoot your infrastructure, to provisioning storage with snapshots, recovery and replication, your wildest sci-fi dream has come true. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Dan Florea, Director of Product Management at Tintri, provided a ChatOps demo where you can talk to your storage and manage it from anywhere, through Slack and similar services with...
"We want to show that our solution is far less expensive with a much better total cost of ownership so we announced several key features. One is called geo-distributed erasure coding, another is support for KVM and we introduced a new capability called Multi-Part," explained Tim Desai, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Hitachi Data Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"I'm here to leverage my secret sauce, which is using outsourced development and the company that I utilize is delaPlex Software and they've basically allowed me to win Fortune 500 companies," noted Justin Witz, CTO of FRA and PlanTools, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.