Branding is a complex process that requires a very specific skillset, and businesses often struggle to get it right or take full advantage of the opportunity to use branding to achieve growth. In this blog, we’ve picked out the most common B2B branding mistakes that we see and outlined the key issues and how to avoid them.
Design by committee
The phrase “too many cooks spoil the broth” applies perfectly here. Design by committee is rarely the best option, especially if you’re not highly experienced in branding. While it’s good to get team buy-in and feedback, trying to please everyone and account for all opinions dilutes and confuses the process.
Rather than involving too many people, identify the key stakeholders within your business and identify their requirements at the briefing stage. A B2B branding expert can then cut through the feedback to help ensure the project stays on brief and doesn’t get derailed by a cacophony of conflicting thoughts and opinions. This will be quicker, less painful and ensure a clear branding process is followed, based on solid research, delivering a brand that will see results.
Making it personal
A good branding project leaves personal taste to one side and focuses on the requirements of the business. A lot of B2B brands really struggle with this. Branding can feel very personal, especially if you own your business or have worked there a long time – it can be very hard to be objective when it comes to your own brand.
The trick here is to take a step back and be led by the research and analysis. It’s not about you. Instead it’s about how your brand is perceived, where it sits within the marketplace, and what branding you actually need. You already know and understand your company and what it stands for, so you’re not the target audience for your branding.
Thinking B2B branding is just a logo
Understanding the power of branding is vital, and one of the biggest mistakes we see in B2B is businesses who think “branding” means “logo”. In fact, the term branding covers all the actions you take to demonstrate to customers what your company does, what you believe in, the benefits you offer compared to your competitors, and what makes you unique. Your visual brand identity, which includes your logo, is just one part of this.
Understanding the benefits of branding as a business development tool is vital, and is often overlooked in B2B settings. Used as part of a clear marketing strategy and mixed with the right content, branding will work to enable lead generation and position you in front of potential customers.
Following the crowd
While it’s important to thoroughly research the market to ensure your branding is a good fit, this doesn’t mean just following the crowd and doing what your competitors do. Instead, a robust research process will actually help identify any gaps or opportunities to position your brand effectively in the marketplace and stand out above the rest.
Push yourself, be open to new ideas, trust the process, and get seen. Using a technical creative agency can really help with this, and ensure potential opportunities are not lost, and instead are used to your advantage.
Failing to understand the core market
How well do you know your market? Is what you know based on fact or guesswork? Of course you know and understand the market you operate in, otherwise you wouldn’t still be in business. But the mistake which B2B companies in particular often make is to not dig deep enough into this. Having a superficial understanding of your core market can sometimes be enough to keep sales ticking over, but is not enough to ensure your business reaches its full potential.
80% of people don’t think brands understand them as a person, and this concept can be particularly true in B2B environments where it’s easy to forget that decision-makers are real people. Understanding your core market well enough to sell your USP into it is vital for developing engaging, effective brand values, messaging, imagery and everything else that will ultimately lead to sales growth.
Giving mixed messages
How well aligned are your business, sales and marketing aims and objectives? When it comes to branding B2B companies, the secret to success is ensuring that all these factors unify, with one brand, one vision, one message and one core. Companies often make the mistake of updating their logo and corporate colours, but making no change to their messaging or different areas of the business. In fact, less than 10% of B2B companies say their branding is very consistent.
Successful B2B branding incorporates all areas of the business and is much more than logos and colours. A good branding project will help identify the key messages and values for your brand, which should be evident in all aspects of your operation, and clear in every customer interaction, whether that’s a website visit, sales call or invoice.
Using industry jargon
Many B2B businesses make the mistake of thinking that using industry jargon helps position them as experts in their field. This is particularly prevalent in the technology, engineering and manufacturing sectors. However, the most successful brands use clear, simple language to deliver their messaging. This makes brands seem more approachable and trustworthy, rather than giving the impression they’re hiding behind fancy words. With 81% of people saying being able to trust a brand is a key factor in their buying decision, the importance of this cannot be overlooked.
Ensuring your brand messaging gives the right impression of your company is vital, and can be surprisingly difficult to get right, especially when particular jargon has been normalised in your business. Getting an external viewpoint from someone who can identify areas requiring clarity can be a valuable part of the branding process, and is one of the reasons why agencies typically produce much better branding results.
Going it alone
There’s a time and a place for DIY, and B2B branding is not it. One of the greatest mistakes you can make is to not trust anyone else to help create your brand. While you of course have the best knowledge of your own company, a branding professional can build on this and contextualise it, using a valuable outside perspective to identify the best approach to take. A brand strategy agency like Motion has highly experienced B2B branding specialists who you can trust to act in your best interests and follow a tried and tested process to get real, tangible results.
Using an agency also helps avoid other mistakes or oversights, such as not considering responsive design, failing to run test campaigns, forgetting about calls to action, ignoring SEO and neglecting to track metrics. All of these are important for the success of your branding.
Do you need help with a branding project? Whether it’s a complete brand overhaul or a smaller refresh, get in touch to discuss your requirements and we’ll be happy to help.