Business to Business Branding Principles and Techniques

Branding is of huge importance in marketing. Companies that own big consumer brands are worth billions of dollars, not just because of their plant and machinery, their intellectual property,or the skills of their workforce and management but because of the value of their brands. When we think of branding it is usually consumer brands that are the first to come to mind, but their is no reason why business-to-business marketers cannot use the same principles to power their businesses. Why bother? Because customers are willing to pay a premium price for a branded product compared to a generic one or a commodity.

But what is a brand? Most people think of a brand in terms of names, logos, trade marks or packaging. While these are extremely important for a successful brand, a brand is so much more than just facets of its outward appearance. Brand identity emanates from the totality of outward appearance, product or service attributes, character, personality, promise, recognition, customer psychology, customer emotion, and the history of the brand. The promise of the brand to a purchaser is a certain perceived quality and value.

The process of building a brand can be broken down into two broad steps.

Step 1

The first step in the branding process is to thoroughly understand your business’ brand. Your organization has a brand whether you realize it or not, the question is, what are your brand’s values? How do customers’ perceive your brand? What about employees and management, how would they describe your brand values? In asking the question it may be better to not use the word: ‘brand’ as people will naturally associate the term with consumer products. Rather, ask what your business stands for, or how are your products or services different from those of your competitors. Ask how you would like your products or services to be different from competitors and what potential opportunities are to differentiate the business.

Step 2

Having determined its brand values, a business needs to convey them effectively internally to management and staff and externally to its customers. Employees need to understand the brand and ‘live it.’ One aspect of the internal communication is formalizing, and communicating consistent brand elements. Since branding is so dependent on these design elements it is important to create and implement a brand identity that is professional and easy to replicate both off an on-line. This will include a logo, type style, style of imagery/photography type color and layout. Once implemented these elements must be faithfully used in all on-line communications (e.g. new Web pages, e-mails, and weblogs).

Customer experience of your business will obviously have a positive or negative effect on your brand over time. Branded consumer goods often do not have any service elements associated with them. For example, if I wish to buy a specific brand of baked beans, I go to the store and make the purchase. I do not usually have any direct interaction with the manufacturer of the beans. I may like the taste or respect the brand because my mother used to give me this particular product, but I do not buy the brand because the manufacturer provides an associated service. With business brands the opposite is likely to be true. Even with product offerings there is often an associated service element. How this service is delivered will directly effect my perception of the brand.

A major factor in brand building is marketing communications. The following are some of the many traditional methods at a business’ disposal.

Off-line advertising
Conferences and exhibitions
Packaging
Public relations
Direct mail

In addition to these, businesses have a wealth of Internet related communication opportunities:

Search engine optimization (SEO)
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising
Web based display advertising
‘Blogging’
Internet based public relations
Social media
Email marketing

Search engine optimization

Search is still the most important way in which people find information on the Web. Not only does a high position say something positive about your brand, but having a branded name means you are more likely that people will search for a branded name rather than a generic one.

SEO is a big subject by itself, however the following tips should go a long way in improving your search engine position:

Build rich and fresh content. Search engines want to provide useful results to their customers.
Analyze each of your pages and ensure that they contain the key words phrases that you are optimizing for.
Develop quality incoming links. Search engine algorithms rely on incoming links to gauge how popular a site is and thereby how useful it is likely to be for their customers.
Refine data that will appear in your search ‘snippet.’ Having got a good search position the snippet of information that appears in the results will largely determine whether some one will click through to your site.

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising

Search results divide into two categories: organic and paid for. in Google the PPC adverts can be seen above and to the right of the organic search results. PPC adverts also appear on a network of content providers’ Web sites. In the pay-per-click (PPC) advertising model, the customer determines several keywords or keyword phrases. When someone enters on of these keywords into a search engine that match your keyword phrase, your advertisement is displayed. You also enter the maximum amount are prepared to pay for each click.

Web based display advertising

With this form of Web advertising an advert appeared on a site and the advertiser was charged based on a cost per thousand impressions (CPM). Every time that a web page appeared that had your advert on it is counted as an impression. This can still be a great way of building a brand provided that the Web site that your advert is to appear on is targeted to your business area and the CPM is within your budget.

‘Blogging’

A blog or weblog is similar to a diary, but with capability of allowing visitors to add their own comments. Blogs are used for a multitude of purposes from personal diaries to political commentaries, but they also can play a major role in business marketing.

There are several reasons why a blog can help your Web brand. If your blog is regularly updated it can be a source of fresh new content. This should increase search rankings and hence brand equity. But visitors can also add content in the form of their comments. This increases the amount of information content on the blog with little effort on your part (apart from moderating out spam comment.

Public relations

Public relations has long been an excellent way of promoting a business and hence building its brand. By submitting an interesting press release to a publication may result in your product or service getting an editorial mention. Not only does the editorial not cost, but it also has a greater credibility in the mind of a reader than an advert.

The exact principles also apply to the Web, but the Internet has been a great boon in helping business make the most of public relations. These public relations efforts also directly help the SEO function. Prior to the Internet all releases were printed and mailed or faxed to the intended recipients. The Internet makes it easy to submit releases to services that help distribute the releases.

In addition to the potential for being published or used by an on-line or off-line publication, if a news release appears in the Yahoo! or Google news services, the information will be indexed by their search engine spiders and will help your SEO efforts.

Social media

Social media is on the ascendancy and as a result many businesses are setting up Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, and LinkedIn profiles. Businesses need to think of creative ways in which to use these Web properties to be able to connect with customers and prospective customers. For example, some businesses have used them as a way of promoting special offers.

Email marketing

Email allows companies to easily send out targeted and timely messages to their customer and prospect bases. Such direct marketing have many advantages, including speed of being able to create, send and receive responses for messages, reduced cost compared with direct mail, ability to easily design e-mails that conform to the brand identity, excellent racking and analysis, and the ability to drive traffic to your Web site.

Understand the Importance of the Business Branding

The Definition of Branding
Branding is the sum total of a business’s value, including services, products, advertising, positioning, people and culture. Effective branding builds trust and respect with customers, employees and stakeholders. Brands provide potential clients with a firm idea of what they’re getting, which means the buying decision will be easier as well.

The Advantages of Branding
The most important advantage of developing a great brand, adding uniqueness to your services or products, is that it can’t help but boost sales. If you have earned a trusted brand, when it does come time to raise your prices (most businesses do eventually), your target audience will accept the increase because they’ll feel that you’re well worth the investment. In other words, if your business is built on a sound brand base, you’ll be able to transition to the next stage without losing the loyalty and trust of your customers. In addition, if you do end up running into a problem due to a service mishap or product performance issue, your customers would be more willing to overlook it if your brand’s business model ensures that you’ll resolve the problem. The most important thing to remember is that consumers trust strong brands because they trust their professionalism and know what to expect from them.

What Makes Up a Brand?
Your “Unique Selling Proposition/Point (USP)” – it’s what makes your business stand out from your competitors. The USP is an analysis of what you do and how you do it differently and better than others. Generally, a USP can be summarized in a short tagline that eventually becomes an easy to remember catch phrase, focusing on how your products for services will benefit the consumer. Once you’ve created your tagline/strapline that presents your brand’s benefits and apply it to your professional brand identity, you’ll work it into all of your advertising, including your social media platforms. Take an innovative approach to developing your brand and don’t be afraid to be bold and even a bit daring. In other words, create a presence that exhibits how much you believe in your product or service, in a “bold” way that will catch people’s attention.

You Are Your Brand
It’s important to remember that, especially with small businesses, that “you” are the brand. Your persona can be a major asset if you present yourself as a professional who is passionate about what they have to offer.
Today, consumers are trending toward the “personality” independent establishments instead of impersonal international retail chains. As a matter of fact, big name businesses today are attempting to imitate independent business models in an effort to capture a portion of that market. Genuinely unique, independent businesses can leverage their distinctive status, attracting consumers who are looking for something more unique, authentic and even fun, that aligns with their interests and needs.

Build Long Term Relationships
If you want to build longterm relationships with your customers, don’t hard sell what you’re offering and raise any expectations that have the potential of resulting in broken promises. Instead, create trust with personable, honest branding, being clear about who you are and what your business genuinely offers, being true to the values that drive it each and every day. Being straight forward with your target audience will help reinforce your business’s character and clearly define what it’s offering so consumers are completely aware of what to expect from your product or service.

The Future of Branding
The future of branding is all about fluidly engaging with your target audience and showing respect for their intelligence by not boring them with stale content or hard selling. These stipulations definitely come into play with social media, which is also a marketing practice that smart businesses take advantage of. Social media expands your reach via multiple sources, providing the opportunity for you to get in front of a massive audience, sharing your knowledge and expertise. Bottom line, social media is the future when it comes to branding.

When it comes to understanding the importance of business branding the most important thing you can do first is take the time to carve out your distinctive brand identity. Always keep in mind that in most cases, better perceptions can out sell better products.

Tips and Strategies of Small Business Branding!

When you want to create a strong brand strategy for a newly start business then you have to consider a lot of factors for it. You must think of the main points that can make a big difference for your brand and company. Thus, the very first thing which you need to do for your small business branding is to develop a logo design for your brand that will make your customers remember your brand, secondly you must create a strong and catchy tagline that will best describe your business; lastly, you have to create a positive image of your business in the marketplace so that your potential audience will find your brand professional and appealing when you present your business in a most convincing and attractive way to the public.

Below are some tips and strategies that will help you making your small business branding successful.

If you are small business owner then you must create strong branding techniques for your small business and make it memorable for the audience. If you have a memorable business logo, catchy tagline and professional company name, you can appropriately represent your business to the target audience. Although if you have a small business and you have already decided a name for it then it should be definitely your next step to create a strong brand strategy that is effective and credible for your small business success. So keep it in mind that your corporate logo is not only a graphical image, however, it is the visual representation of a company as it is also helpful for the instant recognition for the public. If you haven’t created a logo for your small business then below are some tips that will assist you creating a small business logo design.

All in all, you will require selecting appropriate and relevant elements for your custom logo design that will ensure that your business logo should have a powerful impact with the uncluttered, clean and clear elements. So for the reason of making your brand well-known and recognized in the marketplace, you must create a logo in a most simplest and distinct way and it has the ability to capture your viewers attention with a quick glance. Moreover for being a sincere business owner, you have to evaluate each and every element of your logo so that your creative logo design looks appropriate for your brand. Your business logo should clearly convey the specialty of your business.

Once you are done creating a small business logo with all appropriate elements, then your next steps would be creating a tagline and strong brand strategy. So have you decided what branding tips you are going to use in your tag line development? If you haven’t decided yet then try to make it short and simple which should be best describe in 3 to 7 words. So do not hurry when you create your brand tag line and your business logo. A great tag line is what make your brand you standout from your competitors.

Ultimately for brand management that is the need of every brand strategy, you just need to make your customers satisfied by providing them high quality products and services at affordable rates. So do every possible effort for your customers which can keep them happy!