Why You Need an Effective B2B Brand Strategy
By Dan Horan
To compete effectively, distributors must implement a B2B brand strategy. It’s not about a logo or a tagline. It’s how customers, and your employees, view your company. Every contact a customer has with your company, whether online or in person, should reinforce that brand.
In my University of Innovative Distribution session, “B2B Branding Strategies for the 2020s,” I’ll be talking about the importance of building an intentional brand and maintaining brand integrity for the long haul.
It’s about consistency. Giving consumers a reliable experience throughout their purchasing, delivery and service relationship with you is much like putting out a dependable product. Maybe it’s your fair pricing and consistent quality, or it could be the timely delivery and outstanding service they’ve come to rely on.
The more consistent you are, the more dependable all aspects of your business – and your brand, will appear.
When customers trust you and your product, you will be rewarded with loyalty. Loyal customers are the Holy Grail of any company, with good reason. Regular customers cost less to serve, will more readily accept price increases and are more willing to forgive errors.
Along with providing a good, reliable product and outstanding service, there are steps you can take to build your brand and ensure it is viewed consistently, including:
Monitor internal brand perceptions. Survey employees from various departments. Ask two questions: 1. What does our company stand for? And, 2. What does our company mean to you? Look for consistent or recurring themes. If you don’t find them, you have some work to do within the company. Reliability and consistency begin at home.
Review processes. At a basic level, customers should expect to see the same logo, colors and typeface on all materials from your company, including email and social media. But more than that, customers should have consistent experiences with your employees, from the way they are greeted and the prices they are quoted to how policies are implemented.
Make brand standards widely available. Everyone in your company should be well-acquainted with the latest version of your logos, colors and anything else that identifies your brand. And your brand's core values shouldn't be passed down solely through a list of talking points – they should be embodied daily by the actions of company leaders, both internally and externally.
But even taking all these steps doesn’t assure that your brand will be perceived as you’d like. You will never control your brand 100%, but by being consistent, you establish how you will be perceived.
Remember: Your brand is whatever your customers tell each other it is. And what they tell each other is based on experiences both tangible – how your product works, how it looks, feels, smells or tastes – and intangible – how interaction with your brand makes them feel.
Dan Horan is an associate consultant at Indian River Consulting Group, which has worked with distributors and manufacturers since 1987. Horan is an expert in sales, marketing, branding and communications strategy. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit ircg.com.