Branding in the age of Digital
Today each decision has multiple people behind it, and a plethora of eyeballs looking into your business. Each one sharing your company's information at a rapid rate. People with the power and influence to hire your business or fire your business. You might call it, hardcore social! Why is it hardcore? It impacts your bottom line more than one single person passing by one single package on any given retailer's shelf. For this reason, creating bottom line value and building equity for your brand has never been more critical. For the better half of my career, I've spent countless hours in boardrooms with executives and stakeholders from multibillion dollar companies. The majority of the discussions have been around brand strategy and corporate identity and the impact they could make with a rebrand effort. But, more often than not, the conversations would almost always turn into a discussion about tactics -- advertising, package design, wireframe or UI comp for the next campaign's landing page.
Look. Here's the skinny. Brand is not something that can ever be usurped by the next business trend or most recent breakthrough in tech. Recently I've been hearing a lot of buzz about how, "purpose" is the new black. But the reality is branding has always been about purpose.
Brand is the beating heart of a company's Mission, Vision and Values, and most importantly its people. And this investment is more critical now more than ever for B2B. Because the more saturated social media becomes and the more connected employees get, the more important it is to lead with trust and security for would-be clients.
To quote a study conducted at Baylor University, "Given that a brand is a perceptual entity, it is not surprising that when we think of brand image we use psychology to understand this concept. The brand's image, what is known about the brand, is information and associations with the brand stored in [a person's] memory (source">http://www.baylor.edu/business_new/kellercenter/doc.php/194253.pdf">source)." That means every interaction (digital or not), every email, every phone call, every retweet, every service visit, every landing page leaves a memory behind.
Today, your prospective clients have perpetual access to search, compare, and validate on a daily basis. And then, if that's not enough, compare and discuss it amongst each other via text and social. 1 Because your prospect's stakeholders are talking and sharing at a highly-accelerated rate, this means you need to establish the same steady and secure flow of emotional connections to your story consistently on multiple channels at the same rate. Something that doesn't really come naturally to B2B historically. But the world has changed and you need to bake your brand's essence into every fiber of your organization.
In the new normal, where content is king and culture eats strategy for breakfast, B2B companies need to have a lucid perception of who they are and how to market that story to a group of potential decision makers. At La Visual we use the five components of brand equity. Something we developed with our friend Marco to ensure success and long-term uptick in brand performance and equity.
(5 Variables of Brand Equity)
The decision to hire one company over another is a decision that drastically impacts the bottom line of thousands of businesses every year. "Whether [you're] selling to a customer with 50 employees or 50,000, today [we] rarely find a unilateral decision maker. More often, the decision rests with groups of individuals—all of whom have different roles, and all of whom have veto power (source)."
It's a connected generation, and a world of businesses filled with groups of decision-makers who demand 5-star peer reviews. Instead of waiting for the market to deliver that testimonial, let your brand do the talking, through your systems and your people first. And then you can move into those juicy tactics and touchpoints!
Braven Greenelsh is Founder & CEO of La Visual, a digital branding agency in Los Angeles. He has a proven track record of helping startups achieve initial entry into the market and creating nimble and cost effective roads to monetization. Along with his enterprise-level experience working with major B2B players like Intuit, Lincoln Motor Co., Discovery Channel, FOX, and Sony Pictures, he has been involved in helping startups launch multiple MVP's into market, successful acquisitions and aided in achieving seed funding for most of his portfolio companies.