Do you have a brand? Does your brand differentiate you from the competition?
But before you answer that, let’s take a look at what a brand is, and what it is not.
Let’s start with what a brand is not.
A brand, according to Marty Neumeier is more than a business name. In addition to that, “a brand is not an identity. A brand is not a product. A brand is not a logo either.”
David Ogilvy, the father of advertising, defined a brand as “the sum of a product’s intangible attributes”.
Furthermore, in the book ‘dictionary of the brand by Marty Neumeier a brand is defined as “a person’s perception of a product, service, experience, or organization.”
Therefore, a brand includes a person’s perception of your business. A person’s experience with your product. It also includes a feeling your business gives to customers and clients. Consequently, a brand is dynamic and responsive. And one brand could mean different things to different people. But there is one underlying thread tying them all together. You, the business owner.
So, going by the discourse above. Do you still have a brand?
In today’s post, we will take a look at five steps that will breathe life into your brand, and give it a distinct advantage in your marketing campaigns.
Clarify Your Brand Marketing Objectives
Any CEO would agree that having a clearcut objective for your B2B or B2C brand marketing, reduces the work of creating irrelevant marketing content.
In B2B marketing, clarity of purpose accounts for 70% of the success you will experience in your first two years.
After clarifying your marketing objectives, you should also get clear on who your target audience is and tailor your voice accordingly. This will give you a favorable image in the market.
Here Are Three Branding Takeaways:
- Clarify your brand voice. Have a pinpoint and consistent tone in your content and marketing material.
- Get clear and specific on your user demographics – age, education level, income bracket etc.
- Identify where your users work. Their job title(s), also consider their sex and sexual orientation.
- What causes do they care about?
Having these details at hand would help you speak your ideal customer’s ‘brand language’.
Know your Audience Inside Out
Specificity is the key here. Because until you go where your audience is, they won’t know you exist!
So, identify the environment where your target audience congregates often.
For CEOs, business leaders, managers, and C-Level executives; LinkedIn is the preferred watering hole for networking within and outside their industry. LinkedIn is professionally oriented, but letting a little personality shine through, won’t hurt either. Nevertheless, your content should be geared towards adding value to your customer’s challenges. And less about self-promotion.
Twitter users do not fall into precise demographics, but the fact is, many people use the platform for professional reasons. It has a strong presence of B2B buyers, who regularly engage in conversations with brands. So if you publish regular blog posts, then Twitter could also be used as a traffic source or a meeting point to gauge interest. This requires a little work on your part, like scheduling regular tweets, retweets, quick response to customers and Q/A sessions with your audience. One advantage of Twitter is it builds your reach and puts you in direct contact with your target audience.
Although Facebook might not be the first choice for some B2B businesses, it’s still very essential to have a profile on Facebook. With over 2 billion monthly active users, it’s arguably the largest social media platform on the planet.
As the fourth most popular social network, Pinterest appeals to our love for images. 29% of U.S. adults use Pinterest. Consequently, it’s a great tool you can use to promote your products, feature your blog posts and conduct customer research. Pinterest can also be used to differentiate your brand online.
Identify Customer Pain Points
A pain point is a precise issue that is unique to one, or more customers of your business. It’s an ongoing problem that your customers experience regularly.
Sadly, not every customer is aware of this pain. Are you an AI marketing automation platform? Or just about any business?
Then the pain, or challenge your customer’s face, could range from a simple glitch in their use or execution of your CRM, to an underutilization of your software or service.
Although they may be making consistent sales, and on the surface, everything appears rosy. But like an itch, the problem persists, sales are great. But a few high-quality leads continues to fall through their funnel.
So, how do you convince them about the existence of a problem they aren’t even aware of?
There are different approaches to this, but we’d take a look at two important processes.
i. Run a Qualitative Customer Research
Launching a qualitative customer research survey would help you gain an underlying understanding of your customer’s hidden challenge. But, pay special attention to their answers to open-ended questions.
Secondly, a qualitative research would help you identify the ‘true’ goals, desires and motivations spurring your customer to do business with you. Consequently, you’re in a better position to communicate and deliver precise B2C marketing solutions which speak to this need of theirs.
In addition to that, you are now better equipped to radically differentiate your brand from the crowd.
ii. Listen to Your Sales and Support Team
Your sales and support team are the people in the trenches – literally. They handle one-on-one interactions with leads, prospects, and clients alike. They are the first line of buffer between your business and happy, irate or unhappy customers. Therefore, their feedback counts.
However, effort should be made to differentiate between your sales team’s pain points viz operational bottlenecks, and customer pain points. Your sales teams pain points are challenges that are unique to your business.
For instance, let’s say your sales reps are struggling to close leads. They might complain that the leads sent in by marketing, are unqualified. This is a valid problem most sales teams face.
But it has got nothing to do with your customer’s challenge. It’s a problem with your business’ lead generation tactic. Can you see the difference?
But let’s say they come complaining that they’ve had potentially lucrative deals, fall through because prospect told them that your software was too complex. This right here, is a valid customer pain point, with several underlying problems thrown in.
Which could mean your customers have a poor understanding of your product or a lack of training and experience. Still with me so far? Great.
From the narrative above, it’s clear that the customer wants to do business with you. But they don’t understand how your product works. In the customer’s eyes, it means your brand is unresponsive and out of reach.
Consequently, you’ve got extra work to do.
So, how do you tackle such a problem?
Unleash The Power of Targeted Content Marketing
Step one: Create a customer-centric content strategy
Create a customer-centric content strategy and launch a targeted content marketing campaign to address this problem, and any other complaints brought forward by your team.
Step two: Launch interactive content marketing tools
You can launch interactive content marketing tools and create short VR (virtual reality) videos of your product, product demonstrations, explainer videos, how-to’s, in-depth guides, case studies, white papers etc.
This serves three purposes:
- Educate your prospects about your product.
- Show them testimonials of similar businesses you have served – social proof. And…
- Cause them to re-engage with your brand.
Engage Social Listening Tools
What’s the word out there concerning your business?
Are you aware of several direct and indirect conversations surrounding your brand every day?
The era of waiting for a direct brand mention from a customer is over.
Here’s the point, with countless conversations happening on social media. It’s so easy for you to miss out on several opportunities to meaningfully engage and convert your potential lead into a paying customer.
So, for optimal engagements, and to avoid costly mistakes; invest in social listening tools. A social media listening tool helps you monitor what is being said about your business on the internet.
You wouldn’t want to miss a relevant customer question, comment or feedback, irrespective of whether your business was directly mentioned or not. Would you?
Offer Personalized Customer Experience
Here’s a quick story on customer personalization: The last time I went shopping for a dress pant, after selecting from a few on the rack – I had no intention of buying any additional sock or shirts. But the salesperson brought out a dozen socks and dress shirts he knew would go well with the dress pant I’d selected. I ended up buying all three of them. That’s customer personalization!
Buyers, on the other hand, are on the lookout for businesses that’d make each interaction with them faster, and easier with personalized recommendations and offerings that match their business and solves their challenges.
As a rule, many customers want to regularly experience this level of efficient and effective personalization regularly.
They don’t want to experience it intermittently. Consequently, 65% of B2B buyers say they are likely to switch brands if a company doesn’t personalize communications and offerings to them. (HubSpot)
Last, but not least…
Give Premium Value For Free
Free trials or freemium content are a standard in the business marketing world. And it offers great and enticing incentives that would allow your business to scale up and attract an engaged user base.
So, how do you sustain value in the mind of your customer? You do this by creating a delicate balance between what a customer gets for free, and what is available on a premium plan.
Furthermore, customers should clearly understand the difference between your freemium and premium offer.
Give prospects the best experience of your product during the initial free trial.
Then emphasize your value, and sustain it. However, the price of your product should not be more than your product itself.
Growing a business, and having a distinctive brand image requires a total break-away from passive customer engagement methods to actively seeking out novel ways to engage and meet the needs of a customer.
Because companies, unlike consumers, are looking for what’s best for their business, therefore by offering them what they cannot get elsewhere, you separate yourself from the competition and become the disruptor in your industry.
Has your business had success with increased customer awareness through branding? Is your brand strategy well organized and customized to individual buyer personas? Have you recently set social media listening tools into motion? Share your successes and what you’ve learned through trial and error in the comments below.