A sense of business identity built with strong branding is vital for success; it’s no wonder 90% of buyers expect their brand experience to be similar across all platforms and devices. However many organizations struggle on a regular basis to consistently maintain their brand; keeping a united image across every B2B marketing channel and on through to sales, remains a business pain-point familiar to many. So as we enter the second half of 2018, let’s get brand image sorted!
There are plenty of ways you can use your B2B marketing skills and tactics to boost and maintain an impactful, exciting brand image. Read on to fully understand what “brand image” means to your business, and learn how to maximize on marketing strategies to share your brand with the world of business.
The basics of brand image
Before we dive into the techniques of benefiting your brand image, let’s be clear on what we’re looking to improve, and why it’s so important.
Your brand image is in essence, the general impression and identity held by your product, in the eyes of your current and potential clients. Think of MacDonald’s- you can instantly see their logo in your mind, and possibly their slogan and catchy jingle too? We of course, all associate this image with food – perhaps seeing their logo (or just thinking about it!) reminds us we’re hungry, so we’re inclined to go and enjoy a MacDonald’s. That’s a strong brand image; you see a big, curvy, yellow “M” and all over the world, we know what it is, what it stands for, and what we can get from it. A good brand image like this is simple and precise, but is also consistent, and whether we know it or not, consistency is what hinders a vast majority of brands from making a truly lasting impression.
Brand image encapsulates many different factors, here are the absolute basics you need to get sorted, and implemented on every channel, in every department:
- A memorable logo– whatever you choose to be this vital part of your brand image, ensure it’s easy to remember, and doesn’t resemble anything enormously well known too closely. If your company name is especially long, it’s best not to use it in the logo, unless initialized. If you want to use an image, ensure its heavily related to your brand, and what you stand for.
- A powerful message– You don’t have to share this message everywhere, but you need to know your core values, and what drives you as an organization to do what you do. This can as simple as you like- imagine what you want your audience to instantly think whenever they encounter your brand. This could even double up as a slogan if you wanted, but it certainly doesn’t have to!
- A consistent aesthetic– 80% of our mind’s responses are to what we see, so color and look is very important. Form a primary color pallet by choosing five or six colors that suit your brand (and all match each other), then ensure everything you create and share follows this primary pallet. Once your brand is better established, you can expand to a secondary pallet to boost the original colors, but ensure that primary color pallet defines the features of your brand aesthetic. Then select your fonts; the way text looks is just as important as what it says, so choose one or two simple, easy-to-read fonts and stick to them.
Top Tip: Make sure at least one of your primary colors is a neutral, darker color for large text bodies.
- An exciting tone of voice– once your brand aesthetic is sorted, it’s time to look at how you want to speak and engage with people. If you could sum up your company in three adjectives, what would you say? Professional, reliable, fun, refreshing? Use these three words to frame how your brand speaks. Obviously in different scenarios and across different channels the way you phrase things will change (social media VS email marketing for example), but aim to use aligning vocabulary and motive, as if all the words come from one person, and not an enormous team.
And that’s just the branding basics! Use these to form a brand that you passionately love- the more you love it, the easier it is to share with the world and with your company. Make sure everyone knows your branding and understands your message.
A solid brand image does more than just make you look good, it promotes the positive values that make buyers want to work with you. It benefits every referral your sales team receive, it maximizes your earned media so word-of-mouth is always positive and it helps you stake your place in the market; without an identity, how can you be seen clearly above the noise? We can’t deny, when we’re looking to purchase something for our home we want a good deal, but we also want quality, something from a brand we can rely on and trust. We judge brands fast, so don’t give buyers any reason to think you’re less than the best.
So now your brand image is sorted, let’s get inventive and use our B2B marketing knowledge to give branding the ultimate boost, ensuring it’s consistent, impactful and effective…
Kick start your social media
Social media has given us all an incredible opportunity to be our own publishers, sharing our brand on a global scale. Many of us have strong lead generation strategies for social media channels, particular Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, but there’s a platform that holds the secret to a powerful brand image- Instagram. You may already have an Instagram account, but are you using it to boost your brand image in the right way?
Sharing images is an incredibly fun and exciting way for people to keep up with your brand. As 95% of adult’s aged 18-34 prefer to follow a brand’s movement via social media above any other medium, get on Instagram and start promoting how awesome you are, in both product and company! However, remember consistency. Every image you share should reinstate your brand message whilst also telling a small story. Don’t forget the power of graphics too-they can be great fun, especially around popular holiday periods, or to share some exciting facts/stats- just keep that brand aesthetic in mind!
Refresh your website
94% of buyer journeys start online, and how often do your B2B marketing ventures aim to drive website traffic or promote a landing page? Pretty often I’d bet.
Your website is literally the online hub of your brand, it’s a very important tool, and if it’s not flying the brand flag, then it’s likely a vast amount of your marketing is struggling to remain on-brand too. Website design can get expensive, so take time to decide what you want on your website; know your colors, fonts, graphics, copy- the lot! So when you approach a web designer (if you can’t do it in-house), you can be as exact as possible.
If your website is already fairly on-brand, then don’t just settle for it as-is! Shake it up a little and make a few changes, like a sort of “mini re-brand”, so you can get excited about the message you’re sending, and how you’re portraying it. Once this is done, return to every landing page you use, for every channel and give them similar treatment. Get a few tips on website and landing optimization here:
- 8 Essential tips for optimizing your B2B website
- Maximize your B2B landing pages to increase conversion rates
You’ll soon see your online brand image come alive, and you’ll be loaded with great images and copy to refresh all your social media profiles, email marketing copy and PPC adverts too!
Why not discover how Lead Forensics can help optimize your website and revolutionize online lead generation? Our ground-breaking software can identify your anonymous business website visitors, providing hot, sales-ready leads complete with contact details and information to create a tailored approach- find out more and book your free demo here!
Do something offline
A great way to help broaden the reach of your brand (and get that exciting new website some more traffic) is to do an offline campaign. Be it a direct mail shot piece, an event, or a piece of “guerilla” marketing such as a flash-mob or social stunt, these pieces of offline marketing are great ways to help people discover you in a different and new way. With a strong brand image in place, you can get really creative and put something out there that encourages people to ask questions, so you can provide the answer.
Though offline tactics can benefit lead generation, aim for your campaign to drive website traffic too. Make sure, whatever you choose to do, you don’t give away all the answers, you keep them guessing, at least until they find you online and see your incredible brand shine. Remember, having great branding does more than just sell your product, it sets your brand up as the best in the business and earns you brilliant referrals, whilst also benefiting retention and upsell opportunities, so approach this offline campaign with a broad outlook.
Did you know- you can use Lead Forensics to measure and track incoming website visitors, so you can see the effect this campaign has on your overall traffic, and know exactly what businesses are responding, instantly. (Learn more here…)
Give something back (for free)
Hopefully, when you think of giving something back to prospects, your B2B marketers mind flips straight to content marketing- and you’re exactly right! Content marketing is a brilliant place to let your brand shine. Now you’re working with a high-quality brand image, create high-quality content too, promoting that all-important brand message and helping people learn why and how you can help them. You don’t need to give every asset away for free (making good content isn’t cheap!), but look to open the doors and offer something new, fresh and exciting for nothing. Then you can offer them the extra exciting content in exchange for contact details.
Giving content away for free shows audiences that while you’re a business, you also hold a genuine passion to help others- a great addition to your brand image along with some publicity for your product. You’ll be surprised how much the small things can contribute!
There’s no doubt, brand image is paramount to a successful organization, as is the ability to portray that image consistently, across every channel and department. Why not discover how Lead Forensic s helps 50,000 B2B marketing and sales professionals revolutionize their search for new business leads? Book your free software demo today!
Free guide – Did you know, a multi-channel approach can evolve your business lead generation and bring huge benefits to your B2B marketing strategy? Find out more- download Effective multi-channel models for marketing and sales for free today!