B2B Branding Agency: Discovering and Building a Business Brand
What is a B2B creative agency?
The cornerstone of B2B marketing is establishing a solid brand. Whether your company is already growing, or still in its infancy, a B2B agency can help you hone and craft your brand, which is the best way to build your business. A B2B agency will help clarify your vision by sorting through the clutter to get to what matters most. Developing a recognizable—and memorable—brand helps ensure that your company reaches and resonates with the intended target audiences. Brand development and strategy is paramount to establishing a unique, and ultimately successful business. B2B agencies help develop and implement brand strategies that are impactful from a company’s inception through its evolution.
Branding often begins with a name and logo, but it’s important to have a solid brand foundation before jumping into even these first steps. Your brand strategy will be centered around your brand identity, company goals, values and vision to inform each forward-facing touchpoint. B2B agency creatives include professional researchers and logophiles, aka copywriters, capable of not just naming—but identifying the essence of your brand. Additionally, designers and art directors are dedicated to depicting a modern and distinctive logo that will signify and set your brand apart. Of course, branding doesn’t end there.
Brand guidelines, which your B2B agency can help you develop and manage, set standards and rules you will use to maintain brand consistency across every marketing channel. From the history and values of your business to the color palette, typeface, and iconography you use—brand guidelines are crucial to building, sustaining, and growing your business. If your brand is already established, a team of B2B agency experts can be enlisted to help you refine, rebrand, or create marketing content that adheres to your brand guidelines. With the connectiveness of your brand in mind, each marketing initiative will reinforce the tone of your brand.
B2B Branding Strategy
Your company’s brand is its stamp of ownership. Its power lies in its recognizability, reliability, and the relationships customers build with your business. Your brand strategy is the blueprint for how each piece of your brand’s look, feel, and content will reflect the values and goals of your company. Those “pieces” are what constitute your brand identity. How do you define what—and who—your company is at its core? Those intrinsic values, perspectives, and goals are the essence of your brand strategy. B2B branding agencies work with clients to identify the core-beliefs of your business and the motivations behind your company’s goals. With your brand strategy top-of-mind, your B2B branding agency will help develop a brand identity that aligns with your vision for your business. Then, every detail—from the color palette your brand will use to your brand tone and voice—is all tied back to your brand strategy, working intentionally and together as part of your brand identity.
Your brand strategy is built with clear positioning of your business within your industry. What are the specific strengths of what you offer? And who are the target audiences your brand will reach? Your B2B branding agency assists you in identifying how your business fills a need in your market and further helps you market that with a positioning statement. Additionally, B2B branding agencies can help define your value proposition which will aim to distinguish your company from others in your market. Your company is unique, what you offer is special. And a successful brand strategy will strengthen that message to key targets—in the style of your business.
Business-to-business markets are far from impersonal. Brand loyalty, built by human connection, is arguably the highest success for a B2B company. B2B branding agencies help you craft clear messaging that will elicit emotional responses from leads, gain trust from customers, and establish a lasting relationship with potential business partners. One way to use brand strategy to build brand loyalty is by developing a brand narrative. Like you, the businesses you sell to are made up of inspired, passionate, driven people. Use your brand strategy to share the story of how—and why—your business is uniquely valuable.
A solid brand strategy sets your business apart. B2B branding agencies are expert consultants because they can supply market data and offer knowledgeable, objective information that will help boost your brand. A quality B2B branding agency works to understand the ins and outs of not only your business, but your entire industry. A B2B branding agency should be a partner that builds your brand with you—and works to develop marketing and advertising content that echoes your voice.
B2B Brand Architecture
An essential part of your brand strategy is your brand architecture¾a clear framework of the different products, services, and sub-brands within your company. Brand architecture may not be as fun as other elements of brand development, but it is crucial to keeping your business on a focused path toward growth and success.
Your business(es) may have a lot of moving pieces, but your brand architecture will stand as a pillar of clarity and systematic understanding of the inner workings of your company. And since your brand architecture includes a comprehensive mapping of all your products, services, and sub-brands, it will make launching new products and/or services simpler. You’ll know where a new product and/or service falls within your brand architecture, and can easily develop on-brand marketing content accordingly.
A B2B branding agency can assess your business’s corporate and product brands with fresh eyes, and make sure your brand architecture is clear and true to your current structure as well as aligned with your future goals.
Importance of Branding in B2B Marketing
Brand marketing builds a loyal customer base. Ultimately, the goal of brand marketing is to create a distinctly positive and lasting impression of your company, within your business’s market.
Your brand is what sets your business apart and motivates customers to choose your company over competitors. Amplifying your brand’s vision and voice positions your business among interested leads more often. B2B branding agencies will help ensure that the messaging and content you use for brand marketing smartly persuades potential customers to trust and want to work with your company.
Beyond generating brand awareness, brand marketing leads to better brand perception, more engagement with your brand, customer satisfaction, and ultimately customer loyalty and advocacy.
B2B Branding & Marketing
Establishing your brand identity, implementing your brand strategy, and marketing your brand within your market are critical to strengthening your business. But the next step involves using your brand to inform each aspect of your marketing and advertising thereafter.
A B2B branding and marketing agency will understand your brand—and your business. Whether your B2B branding agency helped develop your brand, knows your brand guidelines, worked on rebranding your business, or any combination therein, moving your brand forward through marketing and advertising is the next step of executing your brand strategy.
As noted, the who and why of your business are reflected in your brand, and help establish long-lasting connections between your company and its customers. But your business sells products and/or services. And your B2B marketing agency can work with you to reach sales goals once your brand is firmly established. Experienced B2B branding and marketing agencies understand business-to-business markets, know the appropriate tactics to execute, and will help you convey on-brand messaging that converts leads to sales and customers to loyalists.
Branding Design: What are the elements of B2B branding?
What your business sells is part of a market segment of similar products and/or services. But your brand is uniquely you and what will differentiate your business from the rest. Branding design involves several key pieces that constitute the look and feel of your brand. Your brand design is the visual identity of your business. Colors, photography, and typeface are a few parts of your brand design that should meet your brand guidelines and stay consistent with each piece of your branded content.
As previously noted, your B2B branding agency can help you establish your visual brand guidelines. Maintaining consistency across channels is difficult but important. Brand guidelines exist as a sort of design compass that may be referenced for brand specifications and rules. Eliminating guesswork creates a library of cleanly, cohesively designed assets that each adhere to your brand.
Logo: Your logo is the forward-facing identifier of your brand. A B2B branding agency employs expert designers who will learn the inner workings of your industry and your businesses, then get to work crafting a logo that adheres to your brand identity. Your logo should be simple and sophisticated while also being symbolic and meaningful to your brand.
Colors: Colors are evocative. Selecting a color palette that represents your brand will establish brand recognition and incite action from your leads and customers. Colors elicit psychological responses. Carefully choosing colors that feel like your brand will solidify how your marketing content makes audiences feel about your business.
Typography: The fonts and typeface you choose are already meticulously and artfully designed. Selecting distinct typography for your brand guidelines is a way to maintain cohesion and to leverage your brand identity with a personal touch.
Iconography: Icons are simplified symbols that usually represent complex information. They’re illustrations of clarity. And they’re a great opportunity to showcase both the intricate details of what your business offers in your brand’s unique style.
Photography: A library of photographs taken specifically of your products, services, and/or businesses can be used in your marketing content and are valuable assets. Your brand will guide how those photographs are treated stylistically and help visually reinforce your brand messaging and identity. Following your brand guidelines is also useful when selecting stock photography in order to keep selections intentional and representative of your brand—even if the photos are owned by your business.
What is the role of branding in B2B?
B2B purchasing processes in a cycle, rather than linearly or as a funnel. Buying groups for a B2B market may include up to 10 decision-makers. Because B2B purchases are business decisions, and never impulses or strictly desire-based, it’s standard for the sales cycle to take longer. The complex B2B sales cycle has multiple points mid-stage while decision-makers research, deliberate, and assess product/company fit.
The first stage in a B2B buying journey is generating product or service awareness with a potential customer. B2B marketing agencies serve this step well by researching industry markets and developing lead-generating marketing strategies to initiate the awareness stage in the buying journey. Actions B2B agencies help take toward generating awareness can include advertising campaigns, informational blogs, social media posts, and videos. Once awareness is established, leads develop interest in what a company has to offer their business.
When a business moves forward in its interest in purchasing, other decision-makers get involved and begin the research and deliberation phases of the buying journey. White papers, product pages, infographics, and emails can help guide prospective buyers through this stage of the cycle.
As noted, the B2B buying journey is dynamic and complex. So, once interest is established, it is critical to execute marketing strategies that get businesses to understand how their problems can be solved by purchasing your product or service. And what’s more, since there are multiple decision-makers involved, your company must get a consensus buy-in. During the stage of solution exploration, when your company is in the purchasing discussion, generating informational and personalized marketing content is critical to move the needle toward selection and ultimately a purchase decision.
Information drives purchase decisions. And a B2B agency is skilled at helping your company produce marketing content that offers the kind of targeted information that will detail to prospects why your product or service is the best solution for their problem. Case studies, testimonials, product comparisons, awards, and CTAs are tactics your B2B agency can help you execute/achieve so that qualified and engaged prospects may reach the purchasing stage in their buying journey.
Once purchases are made, maintaining B2B relationships is the final (and recurring beginning) stage of the buying cycle. Successful branding, email subscriptions, and communication develop loyalty between B2B partners. As experts in B2B marketing, agencies are equipped to help companies navigate this stage. Maintaining new customers builds a network of loyalty infinitely more beneficial than a one-time sale.
Brand advocates are created when businesses meet and surpass the needs of clients by doing more than providing a product or service—but learning the specific desires of each decision-maker, understanding the goals of a company’s brand, and consistently delivering marketing data and analytics information, creative content, and account services that secure ongoing business from loyal customers.
B2B branding agencies understand that building and nurturing brand advocates is the final step in the buyer journey and the ultimate goal of a business. Long-term success of a business relies on crafting a brand that customers believe in and by which they feel supported. Customers will look to your business again and again to provide the products and services they grow to trust, and you can rest assured that your brand will reach this goal by working with an experienced B2B branding agency.