What Ingredients Make Up a B2B Brand?

For those of you out there thinking about brand strategy, what are you focusing on? If it’s logo design, naming, colors and fonts… I would counter with an opinion that those thoughts are necessary but not sufficient.

Why? Because a brand is so much more than those basic elements. In a B2B technology company a brand is being formed with every encounter your customer has with your company – in any shape or form. Your brand is the sum of all the information communicated about your company, your products, your services and your people.

I’ve started a list of “ingredients” that contribute to the brand in your B2B company. This list is not exhaustive and I invite you to comment on this post with additional ideas you would like to see added to the list.

ingredients

The B2B Brand Ingredients:

  • the way your receptionist greets people as they walk in the door
  • your phone system. How easy or difficult is it to reach a human being? 
  • the interactions of your sales team, whether they are by phone or in person 
  • your pre-sales engineers (I once worked for a start-up where we discovered that pre-sales engagement and the initial professional services team had a direct and strong correlation to long term customer satisfaction)
  • your website
  • your PR people and the way they treat key (and not so key) journalists
  • the ease of parking at your offices
  • the cleanliness of your bathrooms (I’m not joking)
  • the reading material in your lobby
  • your ads, whether they are in print, on radio, online.  They all contribute to your brand.
  • your tech support personnel – their proficiency and their attitude
  • your naming architecture
  • tradeshow booths (and the people who staff them)
  • job descriptions, ads on career boards and the process your prospective employees go through when interviewing with your company
  • profiles on LinkedIn (both company-level and employee-level) and other social networks
  • your invoicing system and accounts receivable personnel
  • your purchasing agents and supply chain teams
  • and certainly not least in importance – your CEO and other key figureheads

The take-away from this post is to remember that every interaction your company has with customers contributes to the meaning of your brand. Every communication contributes to it too. Publishing a brand style guide is absolutely critical. I wouldn’t run a marketing organization without one. But while you’re thinking about that, also be thinking about all the other ingredients that help make up your brand!

Image: Scott Liddell

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