Building a brand takes time. But that investment of time and effort pays dividends over the long term. The most famous brands not only receive more customers, but can also charge more than their lesser-known counterparts.
In this article, we’ll look at tangible ways to build a well-known brand, as well as what experts are saying on the matter in the 2020s.
Brand Building & Online Marketing
Digital Marketing is a relatively new concept in the world of brand building and In its early days of the 2010s, low-quality, short-term initiatives such as keyword stuffing for SEO and paid advertising ruled the day.
However, since the dawn of the 2020s, the industry has a matured a lot as marketing departments increasingly assign value to establishing a solid online presence, building connections and trust over the long term.
In B2C sector, TV-style campaigns have move online with fast moving sales and promotions continuing to ruling the day.
However, in the world of B2B marketing building brand trust and authority have always been vital, yet for a law firm, recruitment firm or accounting firm to build that trust would take generations.
The good news is that these days building a strong brand is easier than ever before in the B2B sector.
For example, if you’re a B2B business without a strong LinkedIn presence or solid executive branding profile, then you’re already lagging behind your competitors.
If you want to do a deep dive into the best social media techniques for standing out from the crowd, we recently published an extensive white paper on the best tactics for B2B marketing in 2023, which you can read for free here.
In addition to a solid social media presence, a good looking website is as important as ever. Websites are still the #1 source of direct enquiries for B2B companies, either by finding your company on Google or by clicking on one of the links posted on your social media channels.
If social media tells your company’s stories through delectable anthological vignettes, then your website is where your clients go for the full story, including your company history, values, insights, services and case studies.
Brand Building & Pricing Power
The B2B Marketing Institute recently published a report on Marketing Trends for 2030, which can be found here.
In the report, they examine the connection between branding and pricing, and find a direct correlation between companies with strong branding and their ability to charge higher pricing.
Essentially, the report states that buyers are more inclined to pay premium prices for strong brands, reflecting a customer’s perception of quality, trustworthiness, and credibility.
With the power of a strong brand behind a company, even a 1% price increase can lead to a 10% boost in profitability. By contrast, increasing sales volume by 1% represents only a 3% lift in profitability.
This difference is due to the upfront costs required to generate new sales, such as advertising, opportunity costs, administrative costs, and the initial fees associated with onboarding new clients. Raising the price, on the other hand, costs nothing.
As investment guru Warren Buffet once said: “The single most important decision in evaluating a business is pricing power. If you’ve got the power to raise prices without losing business to a competitor, you’ve got a very good business. And if you have to have a prayer session before raising the price by 10 percent, then you’ve got a terrible business.”
This is where the 95/5 rule comes into play. In the B2B sector, companies tend to change their vendors infrequently. That means if you are a law firm, an accounting firm or a recruitment firm, then most of your target audience will not be looking to make a purchase today.
Therefore, as Mark Ritson says in the report, your goal should be to ‘build lasting memory structures in the minds of future buyers, memories that are likely to be recalled when those out-of-market buyers become in-market buyers.’
Or, in plain English, your goal should be for potential buyers to remember you when it’s finally time for them to make a purchase.
These ‘memory structure’s are achieved by being a helpful guide and creating marketing content designed to help your target audience succeed. Share your insights freely through thought leadership articles (like this!), video production, event keynotes, white papers, infographics and various forms of social media marketing.
And personal branding on LinkedIn is the ideal way to build direct relationships with your prospective clients.
Brand Building & Category Expansion
Industries and markets evolve, often at an unpredictable pace. In this relentless environment, brand building offers you both protection and options. A robust brand allows your businesses to pivot to new and growing categories when formerly successful service lines start to fail.
This was aptly demonstrated by Nokia’s transformation from a timber company to a global cellular phone giant, leveraging the same enduring brand identity and promise to navigate radical shifts in market demands.
Apple’s evolution to on-the-go technology and its 8-billion-dollar-per year iTunes store up in the cloud were more logical business model pivots from their 1980s and 90s salad days.
Yet, Apple’s ability to dominate in any market it enters is fully reliant on the consistency of their long-established brand reputation for quality, style and user experience.
Lexicon also serves as a more humble lesson in this approach.
Our brand was established for storytelling, initially through content writing and editing support. Yet, over the course of our 9 years of operations we’ve evolved to encompass a whole range of multimedia storytelling solutions as the world of digital marketing has evolved.
Brand Building & Talent Acquisition
When you think of working for Google, what do you imagine? Beanbags, open bars, pool tables and slides aplenty? For all we know, Google may actually be a sweatshop-like cesspit, but the power of their employer branding has been strong over the years, inculcating us all into the myth of Google’s fun work culture.
This is another dimension of brand building. A company’s brand isn’t just a reflection of its products and services; it also mirrors its culture and values.
As a result, a recognizable, reputable brand exerts a magnetic pull on top-tier talent; and a strong brand lures exceptional employees who want to be associated with a successful and influential organization. In a wonderfully virtuous cycle, this reservoir of skilled individuals contributes significantly to your business’s growth trajectory.
But how do you become an employer of choice through social media? There are many great approaches to take, but there’s no shortcut to actually having a good internal culture.
From there, you can use Instagram as a tool to showcase your company behind the scenes. Why not lower the corporate guidelines and give over this channel to your team? Then embed it in your careers page to give potential employees a real snapshot of your organization?
LinkedIn, however, is the employer branding channel of choice. Aside from the fact that LinkedIn is the number one recruitment website in the world, it’s also a great place to build your brand with potential employees and customers alike.
Combine thought leadership content with internal content to give a balanced view of your organization and its values. In addition, CEOs and other prominent company leaders are increasingly using LinkedIn as a tool for executive positioning, allowing people to hear directly from the horse’s mouth what the company really stands for.
Brand Building & Warming up Your Leads
In the realm of B2B marketing, establishing meaningful relationships with partners, clients, and stakeholders is the ultimate goal.
Buyers, clients, and potential partners are more likely to engage with businesses that boast a strong brand presence. The evidence also backs this up with a whopping 65% of professionals saying that they are more likely to buy goods or services from a business whose executives they follow online.
By clearly identifying your target audience and clients, you can cast a wide net and connect with everyone in your sector on LinkedIn. That way, when you meet your connections at an event – or even better at a pitch – you have an advantage over your competitors as you’ve already helped your target to solve multiple problems with your helpful and insightful content without ever having met them in real life before.
As a result, meetings and conversations become more fruitful when you can leverage the good will generate by being reliable and reputable through the insights you’ve shared on LinkedIn.
From an anecdotal point of view, having a LinkedIn following of around 25,000 people makes it easier for me to start conversations with potential clients and to get invited to pitch for new projects. By having a long-established brand associated with creative storytelling, Lexicon is a go-to choice for businesses in Thailand and Southeast Asia looking to create digital content.
Building up a brand has been a game changer for us and if you’re reading this then the process is working as it should. The truth is that brand building and thought leadership together provide strong evidence not only that a company really knows its stuff, but also that they are focused on helping (potential) clients to succeed by giving away their insights for free.
This approach builds up good faith, strong relationships and keeps a company at the forefront of potential clients’ minds. And that’s aside from the directly measurable SEO and website traffic benefits associated with high quality thought leadership.
Looking Ahead: The Triumph of Brand Building
The fast-paced landscape of B2B marketing often compels decision makers to prioritize immediate gains over long-term growth. However, the benefits of brand building should not be ignored.
As data reveals, allocating resources to brand building, to the tune of at least 50% of the marketing and advertising budget, is a prudent strategy. Brand building’s impact on pricing, market navigation, differentiation, talent attraction, and relationship cultivation is too significant to overlook.
Amidst the fervour for immediate results, B2B decision makers must remember that brand building is not a mere buzzword; it’s a cornerstone of sustainable success.
It’s time to shift the paradigm, to prioritize long-term growth through strategic brand building, and to champion a strategy that not only resonates with your target audience but also ensures a prosperous future for your business.
As the adage goes, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.” So seize the opportunity and lay the foundation for a resilient and thriving brand that will shape the destiny of your business. As ever, if you need some help on your journey, reach out to Lexicon today.
About the Author
David Norcross is an award-winning LinkedIn & marketing & Executive Branding expert with over 15 years of experience in the industry and over 20,000 followers on LinkedIn. He’s the founder and CEO of Lexicon as well as the Chairman of the British Chamber of Commerce in Thailand Marketing & Communications Committee.
Lexicon is an award-winning brand storytelling agency focusing on telling impactful stories for clients based in Thailand and South East Asia.