article | August 20, 2017
Does Your Brand Inspire Action?
To grow revenues faster than the market and competitors, you need to help them think through their issues, quantify their pain, evaluate their options and select your solution. Without proper positioning and compelling messaging, buyers will not act and you will not grow. Evaluate your brand by answering the specific questions in the How to Make Your Number in 2018 .
The questions the Brand Position and Messaging phase of the Marketing Strategy are designed to help you compare your brand to the emerging best practices for B2B brands.
Determining and developing a brand is one of the most difficult challenges facing marketers today. What is your customer’s pain and how does your product address it? What promise are you making to the customer that they will be better off with your solution versus other available options? What message will you create to inspire your customers and prospects to go from the problematic status quo, to the opportunity-filled future by solving their biggest problem by purchasing your solution? These questions and others occupy today’s top marketers because they know that buyers are not rational. Consumers, whether B2B or B2C, buy first with emotion and later justify with logic.
Making this challenge even more daunting is the fact that words matter. It’s not enough to say your product solves a specific problem. Further, your buyers care less about how long you’ve been in business and more about your commitment to the future and how you plan to fulfill that commitment. Developing your brand is like an elegant dance including the right mix of qualitative and quantitative inputs.
All too often I see companies spending their time creating brands in the safety of their conference rooms. Gather a bunch of smart, insightful executives in a room where opinions can be shared, and preferences can be sold, and the output is a brand that simply lacks resonance with the buyer. And considering the resources required to pull off a branding, or rebranding effort, it’s no wonder why some many companies (and their investors) sigh when they hear the CMO say “we need to rebrand.”
To create a brand that activates your buyer, meaning, a brand that speaks to the buyers needs and communicates a way for them to solve their problem, requires five critical ingredients. These ingredients include:
Brand attributes are the words your buyers use when discussing your brand. These are gathered through qualitative research – think customer and buyer interviews. They include the actual words, and in some cases, phrases used when describing your brand.
Brand pillars are the foundation of your brand. They are the pillars that support your brand promise. If you promise speed, a pillar may be ease of use. If you promise security, a pillar may be 24/7 monitoring. Think of your pillars as the critical parts of your brand that must support what you are promising the customer, that without those pillars your promise would be worthless.
Speaking of your brand promise – the thing that makes your customer believe switching to your solution is better than the status quo – it’s worth the time to define your company’s reasons-to-believe, or RTBs. These are proof points that help validate your ability to fulfill your promise. Examples of RTBs include the famous “four out of 5 dentists”, and “more than 100 billion served”. What are your RTBs? What makes you unique in your market or against your competitors?
Issuing a brand guarantee is like putting more teeth in the saw. What are you willing to risk to remove risk for the prospect? For example, if you believe in your product and solution, then consider a money back guarantee. Quality companies that offer this guarantee report very few requests for their money back, but win far more deals than without the guarantee. How far is your company willing to go to delight the customer? What’s your appetite for goodwill gestures? Is it embedded in your company’s DNA or is it a process that requires a series of approvals that only delays satisfying the customer?
The final component of the brand is the logo, or visual mark of the company. Logos are highly emotional and quite personal. What resonates with one doesn’t resonate with another. Developing a logo requires significant commitment by the leadership team as there are many budgetary implications to presenting a new logo. A new website, sales collateral, invoices, social media updates, interior and exterior signs for your offices, and contracts are all considerations when creating a new logo. And don’t forget the research involved to make sure that the new logo you selected, or tagline you created, isn’t currently being used by someone else.
When you’re branding, remember, your brand is what you are selling, not the actual product. People buy brands first, products second. Your brand must convey the right message, coupled with a strong promise to be considered by a potential buyer. To activate those buyers, you must meet them in the marketplace where the buying is occurring. Getting an outside perspective helps remove bias and provides qualitative and quantitative inputs into creating a brand that the sales force can activate resulting in more sales.
Have expectations gone up and left you wondering if you have the right marketing strategy to support the new revenue growth goals? Here is an that will help you understand if you have a chance at success. Take the Revenue Growth Diagnostic test and rate your Marketing Strategy against SBI’s emerging best practices to find out if:
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