As a company that primarily sells to other companies, it can sometimes be difficult to determine how to create a marketing strategy that best suits your needs.
After all, it isn’t like you’re going to be running billboard campaigns or working with social media influencers at any point.
However, even though those things don’t make sense for your target demographic, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t focus on branding.
In this guide, we’ll discuss the best way to create a B2B branding strategy and why it is crucial for driving awareness.
What is B2B Branding?
Before we can dive into the steps necessary for creating a solid B2B brand, we have to first discuss what this entails.
B2B branding is far more than just your logo or a certain color scheme for your website. Rather, it is the overall identity of your organization.
It is the varying aspects that set you apart from your competition, make it easy to recognize your overall organizational goals, and ensure your clients can trust you.
Likewise, it can encompass other aspects of your company, too.
For example, the way you approach testimonials, the types of photos you choose to show on all marketing materials, or the alignment of the core values of the organization with tangible actions.
B2B vs B2C Branding: What’s the Difference?
When it comes to comparing business-to-business branding and business-to-consumer branding, there isn’t much difference.
Both involve creating an identity for your organization that is easy to recognize and fully demonstrates what you are all about.
However, the key difference you need to be aware of is the length of the sales cycle.
B2B companies deal with decision-makers who often have to get approval from others in order to place orders.
The overall sales cycle, average order, and prospecting push are also entirely different.
This means that the approach to B2B branding takes a different angle, too.
Why is Branding Important for B2B?
In the B2B world, it can be incredibly tempting to just rely on your sales team to reach new customers.
The problem with this? Today’s marketplace moves too quickly to sit by idly waiting for the next sale.
Creating a digital brand that ensures your target customers can research your organization and decide whether to trust you is now a very critical aspect of the B2B sales cycle.
Furthermore, other companies are using the power of the internet to research solutions before receiving contact from a sales rep.
By creating a strong brand that encompasses an omnichannel approach, you can reach your ideal customer in a manner that makes the most sense for both your industry and the particular service you provide.
Step-by-Step Process of Branding a B2B Business
So, how do you brand a B2B company?
We’ve compiled a step-by-step resource to help walk you through the entire process.
Step One: Determine Your Organization’s Core Values
Before you can even start to determine how you’re going to market to other businesses, you need to first look at who you are as an organization.
Brainstorm with your team about what core values mean the most to you.
Is it superior customer service? Integrity? Innovation?
This will likely depend on the industry your company is involved in and the overall product or service you provide.
Be sure to really take the time to think about this, as it will be the heart of the entire B2B branding you create.
Step Two: Get to Know Your Target Market
Obviously, your target customer is another business.
But how much do you know about what those companies do?
And, more importantly, how in sync are you with the people who make decisions for those organizations?
This step of the branding process is a good one for creating several buyer personas for your customer base. Include elements like:
- Their job positions.
- Details about their habits.
- Their main goals in life.
Why is this important?
When you can clearly define your audience, it makes it easier to create a B2B brand that meets them on their level.
Step Three: Decide How Your Company Provides Value
A value proposition is something crucial to every company’s marketing strategy — B2B or B2C alike.
Before you can promote a product or service, it is incredibly important to understand how the thing that you’re offering improves the life of your target customer.
In a B2B setting, this can be something as simple as a SaaS platform that makes it easier to schedule appointments.
For tangible goods, maybe the item your company sells facilitates the production of a specific product, helps the process of keeping track of inventory, or provides a safer work environment.
Of course, this can mean different things depending on a specific product line or item in your catalog.
In that case, find the most common denominator amongst all of it to use as a baseline for your B2B branding.
Whatever that element of value entails, write it down and keep track of it. This will be a key focus when it comes time to strategize further.
Step Four: Create an Engaging Brand Narrative
This is where you craft the overall story of how your company came to exist, where it is at now, and why it matters.
It is important to use a storytelling method to clearly explain who you are as an organization and your core values.
Your brand narrative is also the cornerstone of your marketing, which means you should spend a fair amount of time perfecting it as closely as possible.
To help you understand this further, let’s look at an example.
Pretend that your company was first founded nearly two hundred years ago.
While you’ve certainly been bought out a couple of times and purchased smaller competitors, the core of who you are as an organization has not changed.
These are details that you’ll want to include in your messaging and throughout your marketing materials to convey aspects like longevity, trust, and knowledge about the industry.
But what if your business is brand new?
Discuss the experience of your leadership team or even a desire to make a difference in your industry.
Honesty is always good when it comes to your brand narrative, so don’t be afraid to discuss elements that your ideal customer might not already know about your organization.
Step Five: Align Your Employees with Your Brand
If you stop to think about it, your employees are the best ambassadors for conveying your overall brand message.
What they think about their jobs, your product, and the overall industry has a huge impact on how well they represent your company.
That’s why it is so crucial to educate them before launching a new B2B brand strategy.
Help them understand those core values of the organization, while also cluing them in on aspects like your key values, narrative, and how you see your solution helping your target customer.
Often, this makes it easier for every member of the company to come together to create a strong central focus that stretches far beyond what your sales team is able to convey to clients.
Step Six: Embrace Amazing Design and Cohesive Aesthetics
Okay, this is where that logo and your website become important.
A very important element in B2B branding is amazing design and cohesive aesthetics.
What this means is that your organization should spend the time making sure all elements of your marketing and communications feature a similar structure and color scheme.
This includes things like your logo on your business cards matching the one on your website. Using the same font throughout all marketing pieces, such as brochures and catalogs.
And even elements such as having the same word structure or brand voice throughout your website, blog, and other written materials can be a crucial element of branding.
Need an example? While it is B2C, we’ll talk about Coca-Cola.
When you see that curvy font and red logo, you instantly know what they do and who they are.
This is a primary example of branding at work and why visual elements are still super important to your success.
Examples of Great B2B Brands
It isn’t too hard to find B2B brands that exemplify what it means to have a great brand strategy.
However, we wanted to give you a few key examples to ensure you understand what this entails and how it could look for your own organization.
There’s a good chance your B2B company already uses Docusign in some fashion.
This digital powerhouse makes it easier for individuals and companies to sign contracts digitally by providing a secure platform.
Looking at their website, it is simple to tell who they are, what they do, and their overall focus.
They even have elements in the footer that link to pages on their website that include diversity, inclusion, leadership, and overall impact.
Just by taking a peek at their online presence, you can easily tell that they are not only committed to being the best at what they do, but they also have bigger picture views.
We wanted to include Johnson Controls on our list of B2B companies with strong branding because they produce a tangible product.
Plus, they are one of the largest corporations in the USA, proving that even the big guys need a strong marketing strategy to survive.
As a leading provider of HVAC equipment and fire suppression systems, they really don’t need branding to sell their product.
They just do it based on the needs of the industry.
However, their website sets that factor aside and shows who they are as a company — not just what they sell.
There are sections that include the industries they service, insights into their organization, and details about their commitment to sustainability.
This B2B brand example shows that you don’t have to be a huge Fortune 500 company to have a strong brand.
Nebraska’s New Generation Construction (NGC) only works with other companies or industrial clients.
Their website clearly conveys this, which is an important aspect of B2B brand recognition.
Further, you see elements like posts on employee safety, projects they’ve worked on, major B2C companies they’ve built for, and more.
As you can tell, it is easy to decide who they are, their ideal client, and their commitment to the industry by just spending a minute or two looking at their website.
In the end, this is crucial for conveying their overall brand message.
Wrap Up: Branding Your B2B Company
Creating solid branding for your B2B organization is very important to the long-term status of your company.
By making it easy for your target customers to know who you are, what you do, and the value you offer, you can create demand for your products and services.
Not sure how to start with the whole branding process?
We have a special treat for you. Our Content Style Guide Builder is free and makes it simple to start putting together aspects of your brand’s overall message.