What is blue and white and read all over? It’s Drew Neisser’s latest book, Renegade Marketing: 12 Steps to Building Unbeatable B2B Brands! Chock-full of amazing insights, Renegade Marketing is 150 pages of straight B2B goodness.
It starts with CATS, an acronym for Courageous, Artful, Thoughtful, and Scientific—the four key traits that make a good leader, great. This framework lays the foundation for the rest of the book, a list of 12 simple steps to help leaders build a high-functioning, remarkable B2B brand.
Backed by 3 dozen case histories, 200+ CMO interviews, and 4 decades’ worth of hard-earned insights, Renegade Marketing is a worthy addition to the shortlist of B2B marketing books out there. In this post, we’ll use the book’s takeaways to briefly answer 7 common B2B branding-related questions. Read ‘em below!
Want more? (Like, way more?) Get your copy of Renegade Marketing on Amazon today.
- What is B2B brand strategy?
Put simply, B2B brand strategy is your plan for defining who you are and where you want to go. B2B brand strategy starts with defining your company’s purpose and brand values and then making it real for your employees, customers, and prospects. It doesn’t end there, either. As your company grows and evolves, you must constantly revisit your brand strategy to ensure that it still lines up with your brand purpose (your North Star).
Renegade Marketing explains how this works in Step 3: Pounce on Your Purpose. Here’s a tip: Your brand doesn’t need to save the world, but purpose can save your employees’ and customers’ worlds. There is also room for “little p” purpose brands that deliver a new standard of price/performance.
- Why does B2B branding matter? What’s the business value?
Ask any B2B salesperson, in general, which is easier, selling for an unknown brand or selling for a well-known brand? Whether you call it “brand awareness” or “air cover,” the value of B2B branding is immense and can be the difference between a brand that makes it and one that breaks it.
In an increasingly competitive landscape, B2B brand strategy should dare your company to be distinct (See Step 2). This isn’t just about standing out in the marketplace with a distinct product or service, it’s about having a unique promise that you deliver on again and again in everything that you do. What will this mean for your business? More loyal employees. More customer champions. More leads that close because people remember who you are. And more brand love all around.
- Why is visual branding important for B2B brands?
B2B brand design encompasses all the visual aspects that tell the story of your brand including the logo, fonts, colors, and images. Great brands have a distinctive look, feel, and voice that you can recognize instantly. The more consistently these elements are used when designing your logo on GraphicSprings, the more likely they’ll become embedded in the minds of your target audiences.
If, say, everyone in your category uses the same font, then you’ve found an easy way to set your brand apart. Plus, your website is your welcome mat—you might as well make it aesthetically inviting and representative of who you are. One important note: Don’t change the design of your brand just for design’s sake. It needs to be backed by substantive changes to your product or service and the messaging you plan to put out in the world.
- How do you convince the C-Suite that brand matters?
There are many out there who might say, “You can’t eat brand.” If that’s the main refrain in your C-Suite, you have an extremely challenging if not impossible task on your hands. In those cases, you might have to start with small wins to earn their trust, to let your counterparts know that you’re here to make their jobs easier by clearing away the clutter. After all, simplicity and focus are the only way to conquer overwhelming and underperforming complexity.
- How do you measure B2B branding?
This one is especially tricky. There is no one-size-fits-all marketing metrics dashboard (trust us, we’ve looked), and the metrics that matter evolve at different stages. With large MarTech stacks and an abundance of data points at our fingertips these days, many metrics can be misleading and won’t resonate with your executive committee. Plus, there are many efforts out there that move the needle that you can’t measure. It’s a tough one.
In this case, it’s good to have an internal dashboard and one for the C-Suite. We use some brilliant dashboard reporting software from Inetsoft and it is so useful for looking at our important business data, so we very much recommend that. CMOs are best to forge strong relationships with their CFO and data chief to develop blended metrics that work for them. Renegade Marketing recommends four buckets to start the conversation: employee satisfaction, customer advocacy, prospect interest, and brand health.
- What’s the most common B2B branding mistake?
B2B branding efforts most often go wrong when it happens in a silo. Marketing is best played as a team sport. Involve your organization top to bottom early and often and build bridges across the C-Suite. It’s imperative, one, that employees are adequately trained on the new brand before it goes to market. Two, that they continue to embrace brand values in their day-to-day work.
If employees don’t believe in your brand, no one will. They are the front line that drives the bottom line, the people who are doing the work behind every touchpoint in your business. Many CMOs are turning to employee advocacy programs to increase reach and keep employees up to date on where the brand is headed. When they’re inspired, goodness follows.
- What’s the difference between B2B and B2C branding?
Branding is just as important in B2B as it is in B2C. Brand can play a significant role in the decision-making process for buyers, but the fundamental difference for B2B is that these sales cycles are longer and involve multiple decision-makers.
This makes selling B2B seem far more complicated, but that’s where a crystal-clear brand strategy can help. From the website landing page to software demos to sales presentations, B2B branding can inform everything an organization does. The result? Potential B2B buyers will get the same message no matter where they are in their journey. Then, if they become customers and you continue to deliver on your promise, you’ll have cultivated a serious tribe of customer champions for your brand (See Step 8: Cultivate Customer Champions).