We’ve all seen them. Companies with logos and printed material that scream they were created in the 1980s.
There is nothing wrong with things that were created in the 1980s, although many could certainly use an update.
It’s like when you see a kitchen from a certain era with an avocado-coloured fridge and range. You can date the time period they were at their peak and assume nothing else in the home has been updated.
Customers make similar judgements about companies. Based on what they see they are left wondering about the performance, efficiency and longevity of the products and services being offered.
If they aren’t impressed, they will move on to the next company—often without giving you a chance to impress beyond the logo.
Is a brand just a logo?
No. A true brand consists of various elements that are all used to bring the brand to life and show your presence and position within an industry and companies’ promise of quality.
The elements of a solid brand include a name, logo, tagline or slogan and brand promise. Some companies combine the last two, others forgo one of the other, but today, these elements can help tell your company's story, before you even have a conversation with someone who works there.
Branding, sometimes called brand identity, is the physical presence of a company. It’s the logo, the signage, the marketing and communication efforts, website, invoices, social media, email signatures and more. Essentially, it is all of the touchpoints that a company has with clients and customers.
While a brand identity delivers the things you can see, touch and feel, they are designed to work together to communicate and deliver the company's promise of excellence at all touch points and all channels. Most importantly, they deliver an experience. It’s the feeling and confidence a buyer gets from a company, that leaves a lasting impression, encouraging them to buy for the first time or again.
“Brands convey their promise through communications and marketing,” said Gordon. “But they deliver their promise through experience.”
Like the avocado-coloured fridge, certain colours, shapes and fonts become dated over time. If a company hasn’t at least refreshed its brand within the past 10 years, it’s time to consider it.
For business-to-business (B2B) companies, including manufacturers, a solid and recognizable brand can demonstrate a businesses’ ability and effort to innovate and make sure their existing customers have access to the most current products and services and help attract new customers.
Relationships with long-term customers can take businesses a long way. But eventually, they do well to add to their customer pool and grow. For many B2B companies, keeping their brand ‘alive’ is a struggle. But doing so matters.
Academically, brands have three functions:
Navigation helps us choose from a number of choices.
Reassurance communicates a good brand and an intrinsic value of a product or service and helps customers feel that they’ve made the right decision.
Engagement to help customers identify and engage with your brand. This can be through consistent imagery and messaging, marketing or social media accounts.
More and more a strong corporate culture has also become important to attracting and retaining not only customers but new talent. A good reputation among past, current and potential staff can become a beacon for hiring and a boon for retention.
When people think about brands, they typically think about giant consumer brands, Disney McDonald's, Starbucks Coca-Cola and so forth. Manufacturing companies have an opportunity to make their name just as recognizable.
No matter the size or niche of an industry or specific product or service, a solidly executed and consistently used brand can help make any-sized business memorable.
B2B and B2C companies aren’t that different. One sells to the masses, while B2B companies have smaller and more homogeneous audiences, who are more knowledgeable about specific products and services and have corresponding expectations.
B2B companies have an insider scoop on what their potential customers are looking for. They can use these expectations and share information about what their customers and potential customers want and need, in a way they want to receive it.
When should a B2B company think about rebranding?
Don’t assume a rebrand is necessary.
According to Gordon, before any company considers rebranding they need to do research.
Research can help a company can decide if they have something new to say, have a new product or a service to explain, new geography to work in, or a new name, new ownership or a merger to introduce. Sometimes confusion in the marketplace about what a company stands for or how they do what they do or who they do it for could warrant rebranding.
“It's time to rebrand if nobody knows what you do or who you are,” Gordon says. “There's an opportunity to rebrand, but a rebrand needs to be more than just paint and awnings. A rebrand takes time and effort. And… the brand experience offered has to match the promise new or otherwise.”
Whether you decide to rebrand or simply refresh your brand, equal attention needs to go to internal and external efforts.
Internal teams need to be brought into the fold early, so they know why, when and how new imagery, colours or logos will be used.
By the time a new or refreshed brand is communicated externally, internal audiences should be well versed and aware that it’s happening and be able to explain why. That way customers will receive consistent messaging all along their buying journey instilling in their decisions to work with a business.
Interested in learning more? Watch the entire clip from the conversation.
You don’t have to do it alone.
If you’re looking for help to develop your brand for the first time or rebrand entirely, an external partner can give you the knowledge and resources you need, without having to hire an in-house team and go through a huge learning curve.
When you’re ready to roll out your brand, Mezzanine Growth has deep knowledge of data-driven B2B marketing. Turning your marketing function into a growth engine is what we do best ‒ our experts embed themselves in your organization, ensure the people, processes, and technology you need are in place, all in as little as a year. After that, you’ll be equipped to drive the engine yourselves and use data and digital capabilities to dramatically grow your business.
Contact us today to see how we can help you with measurable marketing ‒ and the sustained growth you’re looking for.
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