August 11, 2023
A solid brand foundation is essential for B2B businesses. It creates differentiation, attracts and retains customers, builds emotional connections, enhances perceived value, enables market expansion, drives sustainable growth — and it’s worth the investment.
Plus, having a deeply rooted brand foundation allows you to respond quickly (and appropriately) to changes in market conditions and avoid the risk posed by costly trend chasing or derailing organizational objectives. To help demonstrate this, let’s start with a visualization.
Think of your business as a sailboat navigating a windy lake. The sturdy hull represents your brand's core values, purpose and positioning (the foundation), which remain steadfast. When the wind changes, the captain doesn't abruptly shift the boat's direction to outrun the wind. Instead, they strategically adjust the sails to harness the wind's power and successfully cross the lake.
In this analogy, the sails represent your tactical approaches. While the brand foundation remains constant, you have the flexibility to make right-sized adjustments to your tactics in response to changing circumstances. By leveraging these adaptable tactics, guided by the strength of your brand foundation, you can effectively utilize market changes and trends to your advantage — just as the captain harnesses the wind to propel the sailboat forward.
To help you begin fortifying your own brand foundation, let’s focus on the eight fundamentals:
Prospective customers want to know what your brand stands for so they can justify their choice to their own customers. A brand essence statement captures that in a nutshell.
A positioning statement answers the common question, “why you, not them?” Developing an impactful positioning statement does require quite a bit of digging into who you are as a company, how your customers perceive you and how that aligns with your organizational goals. But when defined correctly, it can help you effectively communicate your unique value, attract the right customers and generate sales.
This impact statement is used to generate alignment and excitement among internal teams. Value props also serve to boil down your brand’s values and offerings into a less-than-one-minute elevator pitch.
Your reasons to believe let customers know what’s in it for them. Some examples include flexible solutions, personalized service, transparency, a customer-first approach and many more.
Tip: Avoid being too “me” focused when developing reasons to believe. It’s about the customer and addressing their wants, needs and pain points.
Once your brand essence, positioning, value proposition and reasons to believe have been defined, then it’s time to evaluate how your products and services fit into the mix. Do they still align with who your brand is and what you’re all about? Your customers will be able to sense any disjointedness, so it’s important to not skip this step.
On the left side, a blue eye and on the right side, two pencils and a ruler.
Elements such as logos, colors, typography and tone of voice all play a vital role in creating a distinctive brand identity — helping businesses stand out in a crowded marketplace and eliciting instant recognition among customers. And while the concept of a brand identity is nothing new to most businesses, many hold on to outdated guidelines for years and years. To make sure your brand’s identity is still relevant, it’s important to check it against today’s market.
With the who and why in place, it's time to focus on your audience, their mindset and timing. This is where aligning your customer journey with your audience and sales cycle becomes imperative. The easiest way to do this successfully is to think about messaging as it aligns to your customer journey framework (i.e., the awareness, consideration, purchase and post-purchase phases).
Here are a few tips:
Whether it is developed in the form of a messaging house, matrix or some other document, a brand messaging framework outlines how you talk about your brand, products and services.
Tip: Customers only care about what’s in it for them, so always lead with the emotional benefit in your messaging (e.g., get your job done faster). Claims, product data and other technical pieces of information can be used as support to bolster your message.
Let’s make it easy for your audience to know you.
“Why choose you?” That’s the question we need to answer — and fortifying your brand foundation with the eight elements we reviewed above will put your business in position to stand out, attract and connect with the right audience. All you need now is the right marketing strategy and technology to maximize your business’s growth potential, which we can help with.
If you have questions or are ready to start fortifying your brand, just reach out.