Why B2B Branding Matters More Than You Think

B2B Sales and Marketing Branding

On 30 Jul 2013 Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co L.P. completed their acquisition of Gardner Denver.  This merger cost KKR $3.9 billion.

So what is significant about this?

Gardner Denvers’ annual report of that year calculated 43 percent of its value to be goodwill and other intangible assets. Customers were buying because of the brand strength!

Who among us can say that they have never purchased something, knowing they could have got it for less, but happy to pay extra because of the strength the brand brought to the purchase.

20yrs and 5 minutes

It takes time to build up a company reputation and brand.  The building process is a slow one, getting that solid base, and then building on this, block by block. The image above gives us Warren Buffetts opinion on what it takes to build reputation.

A corporate brand directly drives sales, and it needs to be consistent.

Your brand is your company’s face, reputation, and identity. How you are recognized by current customers and your company’s first impression to others is extremely important. Everything from your logo, corporate website, social campaigns, communication from sales, coverage by media, and even the office culture, contributes to your brand. Managing brand consistency across all outlets and channels is essential if you want to stand out and accelerate brand growth. Brand inconsistency is a common brand management mistake that should be avoided.

B2B 20% stronger with consistent branding

How does brand consistency affect the bottom line? B2B companies with strong and consistent branding are 20 percent more successful than those that are weak or inconsistent, as stated in a recent study by McKinsey & Company. The way your audience perceives your brand plays a central role in purchasing decisions. A potential customer could have a stellar experience in the sales process, but inconsistencies in other areas can be dangerous. Sales could do everything right, like cater to the specific needs of the client, build up the urgency, and sell on ROI — but an unpleasant experience with a trial of your product or your website, can change everything. Now, the client might doubt your credibility and could result in a lost deal. Your brand directly drives sales.

Losing a Client’s Trust

When a brand’s online presence and marketing materials are misaligned, it can lead decision makers to thinking that the product or service offered is not held to the highest standards. Buyers want to see all aspects of a company well-organized and well-though out. After all, decision makers think long-term, with purchases acting more as partnerships. They want to make decisions that will still hold true as the right choice years from now.

Getting Forgotten in the Noise

Consistency in your brand goes beyond a logo and a tagline, and is crucial in everything a customer sees before, during and after a purchase. For example, the messaging and design elements on your website should always align with any marketing efforts. The last thing you want to do is confuse a potential customer. If your website isn’t clear and doesn’t call out your value statements, your brand messages won’t stick. All marketers know that you only have a few seconds to capture someone’s attention. Those few seconds are crucial and once engaged, you want to create a lasting impression.

Being Associated with Poor Quality

Your brand sets up customer expectations. It’s important to think of all brand materials as many pieces to one large entity. Design and imaging is a huge part of your brand. Brand management best practices and strategies are important to be aware of before beginning any marketing campaign. Everything from emails to billboards and Facebook photos to conference invitations should be cohesive in some way. Setting up and adhering to brand guidelines that define layouts, fonts, image quality and colors to be used, can go a long way in ensuring a brand identity is unique and recognizable.

Take Apple, they’re widely considered among the strongest-branded companies in the world, and it’s easy to see why. Its slick, cutting-edge product design creates a sleek and sophisticated image that users crave. That same brand image is conveyed in all its marketing and purchase materials by incorporating the same visual sensibilities. From the design of its web site to the simplistic user experience, it’s nearly impossible to misidentify anything produced by Apple.

Decision makers need confidence in brands they work with. Staying on point visually and conceptually speaks to the reliability and authenticity of a brand. Set the right expectations from the first interaction people have with your brand. Manage their experience by training everyone at your company and providing the resources they need to be aligned. By maintaining a positive image and exceeding customer expectations, you’ll nurture clients and more importantly, brand advocates.

Make sure all of your marketing efforts count. Brand inconsistency is just one of the 7 Deadly Sins of Marketing you don’t want to commit.

The original article can be found here…

Thanks to Agnes Claye, Blair Crawford, Sascha Lehman, Thomas Meyer

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