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The Science and Art of B2B Brand Strategy

By Ryan Rieches

Crafting a corporate brand strategy takes time, thought and courage. When a B2B company nails a killer strategy, it can establish trust, loyalty and lead to sustainable business growth. If it blunders, it can mean years of missed opportunities.

With so much at stake, it’s no surprise leaders seek insights from data and analytics to make informed decisions about brand moves that will speak to customer needs, preferences, and spending patterns. But big moves made on data alone are not fully informed. It is important to study and learn from the numbers — quantitative research makes the process more rigorous — and integrate the art of the qualitative research from what they hear and know to be true.

A few keys to making sure both are part of the brand strategy development process:

  • Engage senior leaders. One secret to success is engaging the entire executive team, rather than relegating it to the marketing department. Gaining qualitative and quantitative insights requires a commitment from the C-suite.
  • Ask tough questions. Leaders should ask: What do the numbers tell us? What do our customers tell us? Can this organization become the world’s best at one thing or another? What are we extremely passionate about? What are willing to sacrifice in order to stand for something truly unique?
  • Assess the market environment. After peering in the mirror, B2B leaders need to gaze out the window. There they will find their target audience, the competitive threats, and the opportunities ahead.
  • Bake emotional drivers into the brand promise. The most successful brands have one overarching brand promise but they have the flexibility to evolve with the company over time. The ideal brand positioning creates deep engagement with the audience through powerful emotional drivers and is supported by logical benefits.
  • Give the brand human characteristics. People do business with people. Brands need unique human characteristics — a face and a voice — that help deliver their promise. Clearly identifying and communicating the brand’s personality traits are essential for crafting brand perception through brand assets.

When data is all the rage, arguing for a gut check takes courage in some companies. But it’s key to crafting a winning brand strategy.