Brand marketing is strictly for consumer goods companies, right? It is true that B2B’s rely heavily on their direct sales force and word of mouth strategies, but ignoring the brand is like trying to sell vacuum cleaners door to door again. Even the vacuum cleaner companies who made their bones that way know better.
You do see the wisdom of creating a company blog, though, so that’s a step in the right digital age direction. Just stop for a minute and think about all those potential leads and networking partners out there that will never read that blog if you don’t focus on B2B brand strategies first.
A Brand Introduces Sexy Into Your Marketing Strategy
Not really, sexy is more of a B2C thing but what a brand does do for B2B businesses is create a connection. Consumers look at trends and endorsements when they shop, that’s their connection. Otherwise, Nikes would just be another pair of shoes, right?
Companies who sell to companies must take a different approach, though. Your business consumers look at:
- Company values
- Common goals
Branding provides your B2B with a way to present those eye-catching details up front. It’s a connection that will bring them to you instead of you having to go door to door to find them. The ROI of your blog content will grow when the brand becomes more recognizable.
B2B Brand Strategy Tips for B2Bs
The truth is the steps for building a brand don’t change much just because your target audience is a business instead of Joe Q. Public. The goal is still to find a connection that sticks in a potential buyers mind. The best way to do that is by making your marketing fun, funny or memorable in some other way. Let’s look at a company that got it right and reverse engineer their strategy.
It 2012, Volvo was about to launch a fabulous new heavy-duty truck line. The problem was trucks like most things B2B is not all that interesting. The Volvo marketing team needed to find a way to make their trucks pop. They came up with a Live Test Series that highlighted one unique feature of each of the models of new vehicles in a way that was sure to get the attention of decision makers.
This video series took safety testing to the next level. The first one showcased the stability of their Volvo FH model. They challenged a well-known tightrope walker to do her thing between two moving Volvo trucks — and they were moving fast. Each of the six different films had daring feats that relied on the Volvo trucks living up to the hype.
The most popular of the six films was the one with Jean-Claude Van Damme doing his “Epic Split” between two of the trucks. The campaign wasn’t just impressive; it was award-winning.
What did Volvo get right with their Live Test Series brand-building campaign?
- They made it exciting and fun.
- They gave their business customers something they needed to see to understand the brand and the product.
- They made it personal and customized to their target audience. The trucks sold in Sweden where Van Damme is basically a superhero.
- They created a connection that companies looking for heavy-duty trucks were not likely to forget.
Once you have your brand strategy in place, build your content around it. It’s that one-two punch that will push your B2B company further than you could ever imagine.
Darla F is a full-time freelance writer published internationally and an award-winning author. Over the last decade, she has ghostwritten memoirs for a successful entrepreneur and created byline pieces for USAToday, Jillian Michaels, USARiseUP, New York Times — About.com, Multibrief, MedCity News, LiveStrong and AOL. Darla is known for her ability to take complex topics and make them clear to anyone.