B2B Marketing: Why I should have started with branding

Starting a business is crazy tough but I’ve made it into my fourth year, have repeat customers, am winning new business and seem to be doing OK.  To give some context, this is a UK B2B video production business.

Now I’m at the stage where I’ve moved to brand the business and in doing so, I feel a little sheepish.  Because with all my years of B2B experience including previously starting up a successful business, I simply overlooked branding.  I put it down as something I should get around to once my demand gen was in place.  And the reason I feel silly is I’ve realised that I was completely wrong.  That branding is absolutely critical to a B2B business and in reality is the single most important element in getting a B2B business to take off, especially one that is competing in a crowded market.

Impact of Branding in B2B Business

Branding, especially in B2B, is easy to overlook, even for larger businesses.  Because I’m not talking about the logo or the font.  What I’m talking about is the essence of the solution. For a small business, getting the marketing around this right makes an immediate, massive difference.

The primary reason it makes a huge difference is it makes a business stand out, and in a sea of competition, this is critical.  It also focuses on marketing, so it appeals to ‘ideal’ customers and improves our ability to close sales significantly. Finally, as a business, it assists us in defining what we do, and this focus helps us deliver better solutions to customers.

More than anything else, if branding is done well, it improves every aspect of marketing and sales and this immediately makes an impact on lead generation and closing more business.

To give a simple example, a simple slogan makes us stand out. While everyone else is saying ‘UK Video Production,’ our slogan is ‘Inspire, Educate and Entertain.’ It allows us to differentiate and elevate ourselves. When a prospect is shortlisting 3 different video production houses to choose from, it makes us significantly more memorable in a very positive way. It also really hones in on what we do well and allows us to win more business. Again, as an example, a construction company called us to shoot a health and safety video. So, despite our inexperience in this area, we beat the competition because our customer wanted something that was more than simple ‘education,’ rather they also wanted to inspire and entertain. So, our simple slogan improved our proposition in the buyer’s mind who, let’s face it, can’t tell the difference between one B2B video production outfit and another.

Another example is marketing focus and effectiveness.  Our branding makes it much easier to create marketing, and the collateral itself becomes more powerful.  This is a piece of marketing (among many) that allowed us to create awareness and created incoming enquiries.  The focus becomes evident, and the marketing becomes more powerful: Watch the video. 

So sure, demand gen’s important but if I could go back in time to the start of my business, I would start my marketing with branding and allow everything to flow from that.  Because it makes all the difference to the business, brings tremendous focus and allows us to stand out in a positive way.  Most importantly, it generates sales.  And for a startup, sales is everything.

For more useful content, check out our marketing blog.

Paul Walker

Founder at FnX Media

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