March 4, 2022 (Updated: May 4, 2023)
Business-to-business (B2B) marketing has a variety of components. It’s not only important that your products and services work, but that your overall brand is one people can trust. Your B2B brand identity includes how your company looks and the uniformity you can create across visuals, like your logo and email signatures. But it also includes intangible things, like your company values. In this FAQ guide, we’re answering some of the most common questions about B2B branding, like:
Brand identity for a B2B organization is all the marketing elements that have to do with the company’s physical presentation. This can include things like product packaging or how you present your brand on social media or in the world.
Branding for B2B companies, though, is far more than just a logo or color scheme, though those are parts of the identity. It includes any aspect of the company that’s recognizable to clients or customers, which also incorporates your goals and values. Creating a brand identity means moving beyond just the visuals and creating a uniform way to think, interact and present the company to the public.
Brand identity is just one element of a B2B on which you can focus and that is part of your branding plan. Other elements of a B2B brand include:
If all the elements of a B2B brand sound interconnected, it’s because they are. To have a powerful brand, and therefore a prosperous company, you rely on all six elements to do your job right.
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Creating a strong B2B brand identity helps your company stand out from the competition. It gives customers a preconceived idea of what they may get if they work with you before they even take the first step to call or make contact. Well-developed brand identities help you attract better employees or talent, influencers, and corporate partners. They help build trust with all your internal and external stakeholders, like customers.
This leads to brand loyalty, which keeps people coming back to use your services again and again. Having a strong brand identity can also help shorten the sales funnel and change or sustain price fluctuations more easily than companies without one. If you’re looking for other ways to make your brand stand out against the competition, recommend your free content analysis report from CopyPress. It can show you how your online pieces compare to your top three competitors and give suggestions on how you can pull ahead to attract attention from your target audience.
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A Visual Identity System (VIS) includes all the visual elements your brand uses. The best-known asset is likely your logo, but a well-rounded VIS also includes elements like:
Your B2B company should have a VIS because these are the elements that people judge your company on before they even know you. The saying goes “don’t judge a book by its cover,” but we all do it, anyway. We’re more likely to pick up books that have covers that appeal to us. It’s the same with branding. Companies with an aesthetically pleasing and uniform VIS have the potential to draw more clients. Other benefits of building and using a VIS include:
A company with a consistent appearance conveys stability. This consistency means that people learn what they can expect from you if they choose to work with your company over a long period. This stability and a good reputation build trust, which leads to brand loyalty.
Having a consistent visual identity helps your leads and your target audience associate your brand logo with positive attributes. Psychological principles like Top-Down Processing Theory prove that every time a lead or customer encounters your brand visuals, it creates new recognitions in the brain and relationships within the brand. If you’re consistent with your VIS, that provides many more opportunities for people not only to recognize your brand but to view it favorably.
Creating a VIS gives you some sense of control over what people think and feel about your brand. More psychological principles, like color theory, can influence the tone or vibe your company gives off. Are you chill or aggressive? Kind or aloof? Though you can’t control how, when, or sometimes even where people encounter your brand, you can take control of as much of the influencing process as possible with a VIS.
There is a difference between a B2B brand and product branding. This concept can get confusing when your company’s primary goal is to produce products and one of your primary goals is to promote them. It can get even murkier when you don’t supply tangible products at all, and your services are actually the company’s products.
Think of the brand as the overreaching umbrella that encompasses everything you create, develop, and sell. For example, CopyPress is our B2B brand. We provide SEO- and ROI-focused content to agencies, marketing teams, and other groups with content marketing needs. We do it in a way that’s personalized and adaptable to each client. Content writing, promotion, and custom design are some services we offer, but they’re not who we are as a company. We could add services or take some away, but our brand identity would stay the same. Other attributes of a B2B brand identity include:
Yes, B2B branding, and any branding, really, can affect customer buying decisions. It doesn’t matter if you’re targeting other businesses or consumers directly, people associate trust, excellent customer services, and quality with a company brand name. This develops into brand loyalty. Once people find a brand that they like and trust, they keep coming back to it for the same products or services, or when they have to expand their needs.
Think about yourself when you’re a consumer. When you face two choices at the grocery store, do you pick a brand you’ve used and trusted for years, or do you try something new? Most times, people stick with their tried-and-true favorites. This is the same in B2B industries. Developing good brand loyalty and encouraging word-of-mouth advertising and recommendations can also have a positive effect on people’s buying decisions and increase your customer base.
A branding agency is a marketing company that specializes in creating, developing, maintaining, and improving the brand image of clients. Working with a branding agency is often a long, ongoing partnership. Professionals from a branding agency may conduct interviews and research studies to develop an understanding of your business, clarify your company goals, and find the right ways to communicate them to your audience. But do you really need to use a branding agency to create your B2B brand identity?
Like most other things in marketing, the answer could be yes or no, depending on your company’s specific needs. If you’re starting from scratch with a brand identity and you don’t know where to begin, or if you’ve tried to develop an identity and you haven’t had success, it might be beneficial to look into a partnership with a branding agency. If you’re starting from scratch and have a plan or ideas for how you want to do your branding, go for it on your own first. You can hire a branding agency for help later if you need it.
Building a B2B brand identity may or may not be expensive, depending on who you ask. Answering this question also depends on factors like how you go about creating your brand identity and on which elements you most want to focus. The term “expensive” is relative. A quote from a branding agency for $10,000 may sound like a lot of money to a startup company, but that’s nothing to an established organization looking for professional advice. We can’t tell you definitively if building a B2B brand identity is expensive, but keep this in mind: you get what you pay for.
For example, in the movie You’ve Got Mail, the main character Joe Fox asks the bookstore clerk if the reason a book costs so much is because of its hand-tipped illustrations. George, the clerk, replies, “no, that’s why it’s worth so much.” This principle also applies to your branding. Decide what your brand identity is worth to your company. If you put a high value on it, then you should be willing, and expect, to pay more for quality.
Use these tips when developing your brand identity to cover all your bases and create a solid framework:
What does your company stand for? What do you want people to think of when they interact with your brand? Are there certain adjectives or emotions you want them to attribute to your company? Answering questions like these can help you define your company values. It may take some brainstorming and research. If you don’t have a company mission statement or handbook, or you do, but it’s outdated, it might help to create or update those documents.
Meet with representatives from all departments and ask them about their experiences working for your company and with clients or customers. What words do they use? What stories do they tell? Are these the experiences you want your company to reflect? If so, that’s great. If not, figure out what you want them to be. Picking and writing your values is the simple part, but figuring out how to implement them is what’s tricky.
You already know your company has a personality. It shows when your team members talk to one another, when you interact with customers, and when you produce content. But you must bring that personality to your overall brand identity. Show it in everything you do. Incorporate it into your company values. What are you passionate about and how can you show it? Focusing on that personality helps set your brand apart from others in your niche or industry.
Building a brand comes through two channels: what you tell people about your company and what they experience. Using both methods together, you can make a promise, set client expectations, and then deliver on them. If you make grand promises when you talk about your company but the customer experience differs dramatically, you’ve set up the client expectation that people can’t trust your company. It’s like clickbait for real life.
It’s important to promise only what you can deliver. If you find a situation where you can’t make good on your promise, work hard to fix it or make it right. That constant cycle of making and fulfilling promises helps you set the right client expectations and create brand loyalty.
It’s more important to be authentic than perfect. Authenticity is being honest when things are going right and when they’re going wrong. If you make a mistake or can’t deliver on a promise, be transparent with your clients and customers. Work hard to provide a secondary solution. Most clients and customers aren’t looking for a company that’s perfect in every way. They’re just looking for people to be real and truthful with them. Use that idea in every aspect of your business and watch it become a natural part of your brand identity.
The right brand identity can increase your perceived value for clients and consumers. For this reason, and others, it’s important to put the time, money, and effort into the visuals, voice, and other elements associated with your company’s public persona. If you need help to get started, turn to CopyPress. Our content writing and custom design services can help you develop a brand identity through a personalized style guide, brand voice, and visuals. Start a call with us today to learn more about what this partnership can mean for you.
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