Lisa Merriam

Business Branding: Toward A More Effective B2B Brand Approach

Is your brand all talk and no do? Successful brands walk the walk as much as they talk the talk. Great brands are not creatures of the marketing, living only in ads and brochures. Business brands have to break out of the marketing department and work beyond the scope of the ad campaign. They must be the driving force in selling, operations, investor relations, human resources, corporate social responsibility and in financial decision-making.

In short, business brands can and should do a lot more. If your brand is just slogan and a logo, you are missing the bigger story.

How is your business brand used today? Consider the following questions:

Sales: What role does brand play in the sales department? How involved is your sales force in creating, maintaining, and delivering your brand messages and experiences? Too often brand is something that the marketing department throws at the sales force without their adequate involvement in creating strategy or devising tactics.

Operations: Does brand play a role in how your company operates? Sometimes the brand is saying “we put customers first” when procedures demonstrate that policies and procedures are more important. Bureaucracy, red tape, and rules that can’t be broken can impact your brand reputation far more than a costly ad campaign.

Investor Relations: How much is your brand worth? Winning brands are proven to command a premium in the capital markets. Your p/e ratio depends on how well people understand and value your brand. Talking to the investors with your brand story at the center can help them digest facts, interpret trends, and buy into your vision for growth.

Human Resources: How are you using brand to attract and retain top talent? How is your brand helping instill a productive brand culture? Your brand story can educate, inspire and motivate both current and prospective employees. When new employees join the company, your brand can be used to welcome them and inspirit them into your organization. Ongoing brand message reinforcement ensures that people willingly deliver on your brand promise in their specific roles every day.

Corporate Social Responsibility: It used to be that a good product and a good brand was what it took for a corporation to perform well. Today, companies are realizing they must add a third element: Corporate Reputation. Financial strength, management and ethics, and values and philosophies, contribute to reputation. Corporate responsibility to communities and economies, to society at large, and to the environment, all impact reputation. Brand can provide a coherent foundation for choosing activities and communicating achievements.

All too often, brand builders in the marketing department get hung up on what to say in ads. It is far more productive to spend your energy on putting your brand to work throughout the corporation. It’s a cliché for sure, but when creating a brand that stands out in the market, actions truly do speak louder than words.

More on B2B Business Brands:

Business Branding: Toward A More Effective B2B Brand Approach
B2B Business Branding: The Emotion Quotient
Business Brands vs. Consumer Brands: Differences and Implications
B2B Brand — The Importance of the Sales Force
B2B Brand Case: Rebranding Proxios