Your brand is the entire experience that your market has with your offering or company. It’s what you stand for, a promise that you make, and the personality that you convey. And while it includes your logo, your color palette and your slogan, these are only creative elements that convey your brand. In reality, your brand lives in the day-to-day interactions you have with your market:
- The images you convey
- The messages you deliver on your website and in your campaigns
- The way your employees interact with customers
- A customer’s opinion of you versus your competition
Branding is crucial for products and services sold in huge consumer markets. It’s also important in B2B because it helps you stand out from your competition. It brings your competitive positioning to life; it defines you as a certain “something” in the mind of your market.
Think about successful consumer brands like Apple, Disney or Starbucks. You probably know what each brand represents. Now imagine that you’re competing against one of these brands. If you want to capture significant market share, start with a strong positioning and brand or you won’t be successful.
If you’re B2C, it’s likely that a few brands dominate your market. If you’re B2B, there may or may not be a strong brand in your market. But when you put two companies up against each other, the one that represents something valuable and memorable will have an easier time reaching, engaging, and converting customers. It’s a perception—and for most, perception equals reality.
Successful branding creates “brand equity”—the amount of money that customers are willing to pay just because it’s your brand. Brand equity is an intangible asset that can be tracked on your balance sheet, and can make your company more valuable over the long term.
Instead of allowing your market to brand you, strive to have their experience with your brand align with your strategy.
Your market recognizes your name, knows exactly what you deliver, and you’re known for that certain “something” in their mind.
You deliver a consistent experience that the market has come to expect, both visually and operationally, at every market interaction.
Customer acquisition happens quickly because your brand influences your market.
The market may not have a consistent view or impression of your offering, but you think that it’s positive overall.
You haven’t thought a lot about branding because it doesn’t seem necessarily relevant, but you admit that you can do a better job of communicating consistently with the market.
You’re not helping yourself, but you’re not hurting yourself either.
You don’t have a brand strategy and it shows. It’s more difficult to communicate with your market and convince them to buy. They don’t have a clear impression of your offering or why it’s better.
What you do, what you say, and how you say it, may contradict each other and confuse your market.
Competitors who communicate effectively have a better shot at winning customers.