Your brand. It’s so much more than the face of your company. (If you think it’s just a logo, you’re probably in the wrong job). Over the years, it’s been built on your business name, visual identity, reputation, client interaction and a panoply of other elements, all moving in real time. So how do you build fresh, headache-free B2B brand awareness without breaking the bank? After all, in the B2B space there’s often no time or budget for the luxury of grand B2C agencies and extensive research. This quick guide will give you the inside track on three tried-and-tested B2B brand awareness tips to add rocket fuel to your business…
1. Pump-up your PR: self-publishing and influencer marketing
It’s not uncommon to see CEOs and business owners wince at the mere mention of ‘PR’, with its reputation for formulaic press releases, hefty bills and questionable return on investment. This is of course due in part to the notoriously hard-to-quantify coverage of old-fashioned print media and the challenge of tracking sales revenue all the way back to PR leads.
Now to the good news. Today’s digital channels and tools make it far easier to focus – and measure – your PR efforts. With the right strategy, targeted investment and talented PR resource, it can now play a crucial role in showcasing your B2B brand to the world. Want to find out how to increase B2B brand awareness? Here’s how…
Take that positive PR content of yours, repurpose it for the digital age and share it via a world of channels. In the B2B space that’s likely to be your website, blog, forums, and company and employee social media channels, from Twitter to LinkedIn. Here are some handy tools to get you started. This can be a quick and highly efficient (not to mention cost-effective) way to propel your B2B brand to a wider and more relevant audience.
Who likes you out there? Sign-up your key influencers – from company spokespeople and client champions to thought leaders, business partners and industry bloggers – to share your brand stories and content with their networks. It’s like word of mouth, only digital: contacts with the right networks and strong influencer powers can form an invaluable part of your brand building team.
2. Accelerate your ads: native advertising and social media
For decades, old school trade advertising has been the path of least resistance for B2B marketers. Luckily, there are some new B2B brand ideas in town. Your choices are rapidly evolving far beyond the predictable, low impact route of putting an A4 ad in your favourite trade rag. Placing quality, paid-for content – from adverts and advertorials to special offers and time-sensitive stories – in the right channels (traditional as well as digital) can get you noticed, read about and discussed.
With high-tech ad blockers foiling even the wiliest and most creative digital advertisers, the online ad space has become more challenging than ever. In fact, according to the IAB here in the UK, over 20 percent of us now use them. But there’s hope… native advertising can now complement your core ad strategy by neatly sidestepping those annoying blockers altogether.
What’s native advertising? It’s all about context and positioning – putting your ad, logo or brand name alongside relevant editorial content that fits the style of the host publication or website. Advertorials and sponsored content are classic examples, minus the call-to-action of a traditional ad. The ever-resourceful CopyBlogger has put together some excellent examples.
Social media engagement
It’s well worth using your brand’s social media platforms to do more than break news. You can share offers, pump-up promotions and deliver ad-style messages, too. Just use the social media accounts of your spokespeople and sales team to share the same content you’d push out in your ad campaigns – taking it further and wider.
While you can’t guarantee that it’ll reach exactly the same audience as a specialist B2B trade magazine, it can perform effectively when it’s crafted with the right messages and hashtags. Just one word of advice. Take time to consider who’s sending your content and make sure that your tone fits with theirs. You shouldn’t ever sound like a market trader…
3. Take a stand: speak to your public
If you’re B2B, think P2P. A person-to-person approach brings a welcome human touch to your B2B branding strategies, by associating your company’s figureheads directly with your offering. Make the most of speaking opportunities in front of the right audiences, and you could do more than provide a platform for your key people. You could enable sales conversations right there and then.
Getting best value from public speaking opportunities needs careful planning. Because there are only so many conversations a speaker can have after they jump off stage, you should provide a backup team to offer a physical presence before, during and after your speaking slot.
Check out the sponsorship and exhibition options on offer. Where could you base a sales team? Could they create a focal point for your activity? Tool your team up with the facts so they can have knowledgeable conversations with prospects. Harvest business cards. And of course, be sure to capture those good conversations and ensure that future follow-up is timely and tracked. Avoid the temptation to take a stand without speaking – it’s not the cleverest way to drive footfall. In short, nothing works as well as a speaker demonstrating knowledge, passion, expertise… and real thought leadership.
To supercharge your marketing, crank-up your B2B brand
Need a refresher on how to do B2B brand marketing? Professional marketers know their brand assets from their value propositions. Once the preserve of the corporate set, they’re now bringing their talents to the B2B and SME space as never before. Infuse your team with their insights and they’ll help you invest where it matters, building on your successes and making your B2B brand fit for a more competitive, digital future. Don’t hold back – because when your brand truly sings, your marketing performance can be transformed.