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There is a constant debate as to how much companies should invest in brand development strategy and what the ROI of such an investment would be. I tend to agree that small and medium-sized businesses should not invest in campaigns just for branding, because branding has long-term benefits and small businesses are usually only looking for short-term benefits. Nevertheless, it is instrumental that your brand would project a coherent look and feel, a firm message, and an image that perfectly corresponds with your offering. Any branding guidelines to consider?
1) Make your brand memorable- Business-to-business products and services are often very complex. Make sure your branding simplifies and captures the concept so that your target market can easily remember your business.
2) Ensure your branding is consistent- Implement your branding across all your marketing materials, including your website, business cards, promotional materials, etc. Always present your offering in the same way so that, over time, your target client can identify the same message whatever the media.
3) Differentiate yourself from the competition- Through your branding, use your positioning strategy to emphasize what makes you stand out from the competition and why your offering is better than theirs.
4) Offer clear benefits- Business-to-business purchasing decisions are mostly performed based on rational decisions. Be crystal clear as to the benefits of your offering.
5) Build your relationships- It is your responsibility as a vendor to develop a relationship with your client. The closer the relationship you establish, the more loyal your clients will be. Brand development is building a relationship in the mind of your client.
So what outcome is expected from following these branding guidelines? Why should we invest in a brand development strategy?
Business-to-business companies with strong branding will enjoy:
1) A dramatically shorter sales cycle- Branding brings greater trust in a company, with less time needed to close a deal
2) Higher pricing- Clients will be more willing to pay premium prices and be less sensitive to price increases
3) An established industry signature- Your offering will dictate some of the mandatory purchasing criteria
4) Product/service inclusion in the top shortlistYour solution can find itself at the top of a list, sometimes without any sales push activity
It is true that branding takes time for effects to be seen, but, with very small steps following the branding guidelines, you can soon see the difference. Check with me to learn how to succeed in doing so.
“Ranking our Web site high on search engines results, designing a professional Web site look and developing engaging relevant content for a heavy technology company like us resulted in a dramatic increase in client leads that we receive from our Web site.”Simon Robin CEO, Hardent