As brand managers and marketers, you’ll know that is it hard to increase brand awareness in B2B companies. You might go as far as saying it is one of the most important yet challenging parts of your roles. Perhaps your content is low-ranking. Or it's not in front of the right audience. Or maybe you are having trouble making sure your brand is accurately perceived. Whatever the reason, this article will help you increase your brand awareness.
Increase Brand Awareness in B2B Companies: The Unique Challenges
Brand managers and marketers working to increase brand awareness in B2B face more challenges than within the B2C market. The B2B buyer is more sophisticated and the stakes are often much higher. B2B decision-makers are paid high salaries to make said purchase decisions and the sales process can be long.
Building and increasing brand awareness within B2B also requires more knowledge about your customers' problems, with marketing strategies that empathise and educate accordingly. And a more sophisticated marketing strategy must be supported by the right resources. This could include:
creating a marketing strategy
hiring a content writer
investing in product training
the right technical resources to support your team.
Overall, increasing brand awareness in B2B comes with a price tag because it needs more consideration, involves more people and requiring more approval from key internal stakeholders.
Why Should You Increase Brand Awareness?
If it is so difficult, why should B2B-ers bother working to increase brand awareness? Well, brand awareness builds trust. Increased trust in a brand means more customer reach and staying on “top of mind” means increased brand loyalty. And what does this mean for the long term? Well as brands and marketers, it certainly means you can sell more and even charge higher prices if you feel inclined so.
So, it's hard work, but it's worth it. To get you started, check out our infographic for some practical ways that you can start to increase brand awareness in B2B today.
Create Useful and Educational Content
Compelling content marketing allows you to tell customers your brand’s story and there are various ways to create content that is both findable and shareable. From blogging to various forms of social media, sharing your brand’s story has never been easier. With so much content being published on a daily basis, the challenge for content teams is how to cut through the digital noise. The solution? Create content that is both useful and educational. Take the collaboration and communication brand Slack. They have a blog called ‘Several People Are Typing’ where they write blog posts containing lots of tips and tricks for users on how to use their platform effectively. They also write about events they’ve attended or hosted, share brand announcements (such as their new logo) and offer up a stack of productivity hacks (such as Slack and G Suite integration). This is a great example of useful and educational content which builds brand trust and increases brand awareness amongst both new and existing users.
Another great way to build trust amongst B2B customers is to do a case study featuring one of your clients. Why not interview one of your existing clients to see how they best benefitted from your brand? Ask them about the challenges they faced and how they overcame them - it makes for educational and shareable content! Bonus tip: don’t forget to ask your clients to share it on their own social media.
Just remember not to go too overboard on the sales content. According to Marketing Charts, "93% of brands focus their content on marketing their own products and services, which doesn’t help the B2B buyer research new ideas."
Bring in a Professional Content Writer
Hiring a professional content writer will help to shape your brand’s narrative and they can write for a variety of niche audiences and personas. Good content marketing isn’t just about filling up the internet with filler content and putting any old vague hashtag on it - it must serve a strategic purpose. A content writer will work with or help to develop a content strategy, will have the skill to write persuasively or educationally in a tone of voice that is relatable to your audience. They can write white papers, case studies, landing pages, blogs, or social media content and refresh existing content and help brands to develop a set of guidelines that can be used for both external marketing and internal communications. Quality writing and content will help build brand trust from your audience.
Establish an Original Brand Voice
Writers will also help a brand to have a unique and inspiring brand voice. This will set your brand’s story apart from your competitors and help you have a better relationship with your audience. It will also help to distinguish yourself from competitors, allowing for a less confusing brand message and allowing your customers to better understand what it is that your brand does or sells. Take for example sportswear brand Nike’s ‘Equality’ campaign which is based on the belief that sport is the great equalizer and brings people together and featured big names such as Lebron James, Serena Williams and Michael Jordan. Nike used its huge brand awareness to craft a different kind of brand narrative - that the power of sport stands together against inequality and prejudice. In the same year, Nike also donated 5 million dollars to communities across the US. How did this assist in increasing Nike’s brand awareness? By positioning Nike not just as a sportswear and streetwear brand, but as a force for positive social change.
Network Like a Boss
Having a business network such as LinkedIn is a great way to make connections but it’s also important to show up at networking events IRL too. Networking opportunities are everywhere. Why not join a local Meetup group, attend industry conferences, or join a local commerce group. Showing up and representing your brand builds serious industry credibility. Bonus tip: Along with your business cards, consider branded swag that is useful to prospects (no one needs another stress ball!)
Engage in Strategic Event Marketing
If you can’t find the event you want to attend, why not consider hosting your own? Taking charge of your community is more than just a branding opportunity. It creates a wonderful networking opportunity and facilitates a positive culture. Offering to host, manage or sponsor industry-specific workshops, talks and conferences is a great way to increase your brand awareness. Offer to sponsor a meetup or podcast or simply paying for catering, is a low investment way to increase brand awareness.
Let Your Product Do the Talking
Have you had wonderful service lately or used an amazing new product? Did you tell people about it? Good products are talked about and will hopefully have a long life cycle. Lufthansa, Borsch, ADIDAS, Audi… what do these brands all have in common? They are all German brands known for their quality product. Globally, the Made in Germany brand is a brand within itself. It is a brand that is synonymous with quality, craftsmanship and pioneers in their respective industries. An example of a B2B product is enterprise software SAP, who have a brand value of 50 billion Euros, making it one of the most successful European brands.
As brand managers, how will you work to increase brand awareness and most importantly, how will you measure it? Using brand tracking software, you’ll not only be able to see if they are working but where and by who. Using content marketing, attending and hosting networking events, and building quality products and services are just some of the practical ways to build trust with your customers and increase brand awareness.