Sep 7, 2021 11:02:30 AM by Shalmali Shahane

Branding Checklist for B2B Businesses

Marketing Insights, Business Insights
Telling your product’s story while emphasizing your brand is no easy feat.

Many B2B businesses fail to realize the importance of branding, because they simply think they are ‘too small’ to need it. Some may even think that their business is fully driven by sales and business development. As tempting as that may be to believe that, it is far from the truth. Let’s first break down the fundamental difference between branding and marketing. Branding is expressing who your business is for, what your story is, and what your company is all about. Marketing is building awareness about a brand, products/services, and generating sales. But how does a brand build awareness without any branding?

At HEEDGROUP, we have come across many prospects and clients lacking a great brand. This same branding will aid in their marketing efforts. One isn’t, and shouldn’t be, possible without the other. Now, this doesn’t need to be a long project that takes forever and goes into too much detail. What B2B businesses need in their branding is clarity, structure and uniformity. Changing everything is not necessary to having a successful brand, nor is questioning everything that your prospects or clients see is. Establishing trust is important for B2B businesses who offer products and services in distinguished and new markets. According to Neil Patel, people who are loyal to certain brands are very likely to be the decision makers among the clientele in the B2B world. Recently, Gallup found that 71% of B2B customers are actively considering taking their business to a different company. This is a huge opportunity that can be conquered and a solid brand might be the only thing keeping a B2B business from reaching potential clients.

Here’s how to get that branding right:

1. Defining your Brand’s Essence

This step is all about defining your brand and is a journey of your business’ self-discovery, and can often be long, uncomfortable and can feel unnecessary. What small businesses should aim for here is to create a brand essence book or document, which will outline the following:

  • Brand Story

  • Mission and Vision

  • Passion & Niche

  • Core Values

  • Brand Objective

  • Target Market

  • Engagement Drivers - These define why someone needs your brand’s products or services and businesses could have anywhere between 2-10 drivers.

  • Brand Attributes

  • Positioning

2. Logo

It is essential that small businesses take a long, hard look at their logo and ask if the logo conveys the core of their business. For eg. If it is a FinTech company, does the logo feel modern? Does it have the right colors and what do they signify? Does the logo need a tagline? If a business is 100% happy with their logo, that’s fine too! In that case, making sure that all logo files are high resolution and available in various industry standard formats is important. Many businesses have a version of their logo that is low resolution, with no access to raw files. This is a complete no no and needs to be rectified immediately. Today’s smart customers know when a business is not focusing on how they brand themselves.

3. Style Guide

This is where businesses should start translating their brand into visuals. Start with defining:

Logo treatment - Basic usage vs on solid/gradient backgrounds and images, do’s and don’ts

Brand Colors - Finalize colors and do’s and don'ts of usage on print & digital mediums

Typography - Primary and secondary typeface, digital use, print use

Iconography - Attributes and brand style

Special design elements - This can be as simple as lines, boxes, or anything that would be used widely across the brand’s branding and marketing collaterals

Imagery - Attributes, special treatment to raw images using brand colors, defining print and digital use

Stationary - Business Cards, letterheads and email signatures

4. Marketing Collaterals

Start by listing the various marketing collaterals that your company uses, and give ample thought to what can be added to that list. Many B2B businesses think that the list ends at brochures and one pagers. Clients not only pay attention to uniformity, but they also respond to it. Imagine the disconnect when a client sees an email for a company’s newsletter, and it has an attached brochure that has different colors, imagery, fonts from the eBlast design. While all clients may not notice this, their mind will subconsciously note the disconnect and this could result in decreased trust in the company. Companies need branding to increase trust and recognition in their brand and product.

At the very least, it is important to ensure that all the following items have the same design elements (fonts, colors, etc.), language, and are overall consistent with each other:

Print -

  • Business cards

  • Letterheads

  • Brochures

  • One Pagers

  • Office signage

  • Event/Conference set-up

Digital -

  • Email Signatures

  • Email/eblast branding across different types of emails (newsletters, announcements, client services, cold emails)

  • Brochures

  • One Pagers

  • Special Booklets

  • Case Studies

  • Articles/Commentary

  • Use Case Documents

  • White Papers

That is it, a basic checklist of what B2B businesses must focus on to ensure a uniform brand. While this seems like a long process, it is really not. This is the bare minimum that a B2B business must invest in to increase recognition, engagement and in turn sales for their brand.

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