Especially in the technical sector, building and maintaining a differentiating B2B brand is crucial to a company's success. And as is so often the case, all beginnings are easy if you have a good plan.

1. What is a brand at all?

But what is a brand? It is often confused with advertising. But advertising is only a small part of brand communication with customers, multipliers or talents. And too often, advertising promotes price instead of quality.
Yet this is exactly what buyers want in increasingly confusing markets: That they can trust that they will get the quality they expect.

That's why we understand a brand as the image that customers, multipliers or talents have in their heads: The image of your company. It doesn't matter whether you speak to the whole world like Coca Cola or to a highly specialised segment like a hidden champion from Posemuckel that offers unique solutions worldwide with its 50 employees.

2. How come you to your strong B2B brand?

Here are the indispensable ingredients to establish your company as a leading solution partner:

  1. A strong positioning
  2. Clear processes
  3. The necessary resources

2.1 A strong positioning:

First you need to know who you are and what your strengths are.
Then you need to define who you are talking to and what your target groups want.
Thirdly, you should keep in mind against whom you have to assert yourself.
Once you have structured yourself and your environment, this results in a positioning that forms the foundation of your brand.

It is interesting that very few companies know who they are and who they are talking to. This is already evident in the vision, which rarely goes beyond generalities: "We always want to find the best solution for our customers!" Such self-portraits are then distributed as corporate bibles to dear employees, who file them away in the darkest corners of their drawers until they are fired. You don't believe that? Ask your colleague next door about your vision. You will be amazed at how little agreement there is in your company about who you are and to whom you want to say what and how.

The basis for a truly singular and motivating positioning is best found in agile workshops: Bring together minds from as many areas as possible and let them develop new thoughts on the structure in structured discussions and using design thinking methods. Together with the long-term strategies of the management, ideas are formulated that form a solid basis for a truly future-proof positioning.

You can read more about this topic in our blog article "Finding strategies for successful B2B marketing".

2.2 Clear processes:

After you have found the positioning, it's all about the staging: Show your company, your added values and your products or services in such a way that your target groups immediately understand the benefits for them. Ideally, this should be the same on all channels so that a consistent image is created.

To do this, it is best to hire professionals who not only understand your products and customers, but are also able to creatively translate your added values into a striking word/image language that makes you as attractive as it does relevant.
Such a word/image language can be evolutionary or revolutionary: In other words, it can polish up and modernise the familiar image in small steps or clear the air and make a new start with a completely new appearance.

But how does a professional "roll-out" of your communication succeed?
In the B2B sector, it can make sense to use trade fairs as milestones for the continuous development of a brand world. After all, trade fairs provide fixed deadlines by which the implementation must be ready. Last but not least, they are a good place for direct feedback. If clear goals are set for trade fairs, you can improve measurably from trade fair to trade fair and constantly adapt your communication to the market, the target groups and the added values of your company. This is important to keep the brand alive and to keep charging it with new content.

If you align your digital and analogue media mix with the respective upcoming trade fairs, this automatically results in a continuous story that you can tell depending on the target groups and topics.

2.3 The necessary resources:

According to a study by the Bundesverband Industrie Kommunikation e.V. (bvik), the marketing department in medium-sized German companies comprises 8 to 9 employees. In companies with up to 2,000 employees, they have an average budget of 1% of turnover. However, we often see that only two or three positions for companies with 1,000 or more employees are filled for the topic of communication. Depending on how many channels one wants to serve, however, external forces are often indispensable. Just because of the external view: after several years of working for a company, you often can't see the forest for the trees. That is why it can be helpful, especially in strategic work, to make use of an outside perspective. The implementation can then be done by internal staff, who usually benefit from short coordination paths.

3. Conclusion: None Brand without Strategy

Don't launch a brand without a plan. Only with a clear positioning and a defined story can you succeed in credible communication that stages you in a relevant and memorable way across all digital, analogue and live media and takes you where you want to be: In the minds of your target groups, right at the front!

Stefan Weder

Together with my team, I structure innovation and communication-relevant knowledge for B2B companies and use it to develop target group-focused business models and productions. In doing so, we enter new territory every day. We share what we discover and experience there in our blog - and are curious what you tell us.