A Brand Strategy Template for B2B Startups

Brand Strategy TemplateThis post is geared towards B2Bs building their brand strategy for the first time or needing to get to market quickly. Those wanting to rebrand or go to the next level can also use it.

The main point of it is: Everything you build, say, and do as a company should be based on your Brand Strategy.

Some B2B startups think that ‘brand strategy’ simply means coming up with a name, logo, elevator speech, domain, product/service descriptions, and pricing. Others think more strategically and first invest in research and analysis to understand: 1) their target audience’s needs and mindset, 2) the industry & competitive landscape, and 3) new or different opportunities to connect & stand out. They use these insights to shape their Brand Strategy.

As a marketing consultant, I recommend the latter approach because it will set you up for faster success. I also know that many companies want to get to the market quickly and test. They don’t have the patience or budget for in-depth processes and analyses that will hold them up.

So, this template helps those who want to be smart and thoughtful, but also want to speed up the process.

Brand Strategy Template for B2Bs or Startups

Here is a mock brand strategy for illustration purposes

XYZ, Inc. sells technology to companies that want to automate critical accounting processes that cost thousands/millions each year.

Company Mission

Improve our customer’s bottom line by 50% in less than six months.

  • Why this is important: If this is in fact your mission, you need to think through what you’ll have to invest in and do to achieve it. Walk the walk.

Brand Position

A tech company that actually understands business process and the accounting function.

  • Why this is important: To get people to think/feel a certain way about you when they hear/see your name, everything you do as a company will need to be considered (including staff member tone and behavior when answering the phone or sending an email). The Brand Position statement is not a message; it’s an internal statement that confirms the strategy to all employees. It’s very important to understand the difference between an internal position statement and ‘positioning’.

Unique Value Proposition

The only company that has the know-how, innovative technology, and proper processes + support to automate your accounting business processes quickly and efficiently.

  • Why this is important: If you want to stand out and make a connection with your target buyer, you need to be clear on how you’re different and why they should care about you.

Reasons to Believe Our Claims

Reason 1: Our top 50 customers say that [fill in the blank].

Reason 2: Our team has process junkies who’ve worked in business functions just like yours. We know how to dig beneath the surface to get at the most costly problems quickly.

Reason 3: We’ve invested heavily in top technologists that know how to develop innovative, user-friendly IT solutions.

  • Why this is important: Confirm in advance how you will support your claims in the marketplace as well as in sales conversations, meetings with reporters, etc.

Brand Attributes

Committed, passionate, analytical, intelligent, thoughtful, innovative, consultative.

  • Why this is important: Agree on the human aspect and personality of your brand. This shapes your culture and informs your brand’s look and messaging.

Audience Promise

If you are a [X] who needs [Y], we promise you will see significant cost savings in less than 6 months by using our technology. We will complete your migration quickly so that business is not disrupted and employees feel confident and empowered.

  • Why this is important: Similar to the mission statement, put a stake in the ground about what you are promising and make sure you can deliver on it. If everyone on your team knows what the promise is, you will create a culture that’s united and customer-centric.

Messaging Tone

We add value by showing our customers meaningful ways to automate manual business processes so that they cut costs and improve the bottom line quickly. We are proud of our capabilities from both a technology and human standpoint, and strive to be relevant and helpful to our clients every single day.

  • Why this is important: Decide early how you’ll talk about your philosophies and guiding principles. This sets the tone for detailed messaging and branding elements later in the process.

Elevator Pitch

We save customers thousands (sometimes millions). XYZ, Inc. is a technology company that helps businesses cut costs by 50% or more in less than 6 months (on average).

  • Why this is important: Practice your elevator pitch early to see if you can answer the question, “What do you do?” in a way that makes the listener say: “Great, tell me more.” You may change it later as you flush out your brand story and messaging, but it helps to include a first take in your framework.

Tagline(s)

Empowering you to get things done quicker and more accurately.

  • Why this is important: Similar to the elevator pitch, it can be good to draft a tagline early in an attempt to boil down your brand’s message. This can be refined as you flush out your messaging.

Final Thoughts

  • The process to confirm each of these elements varies. Here’s two tips if you must work fast: 1) Compile at least a few strategic insights to guide everyone in the organization about what should go in the slots. 2) Resist the temptation to decide all these elements based on internal opinion and guesswork—rarely does that work out without spending more money later, because your audience rarely thinks about what you do and offer the way that you do.
    • Consider hiring a marketing consultant or brand agency, or delegating someone internally who’s been through the process to organize insights and facilitate conclusions. Why? Because this is relatively simple, but rarely easy.
  • What happens next: Once your baseline is complete you can decide other elements of your strategy such as brand identity (look n’ feel), brand narrative/story, communications and content strategy, service/support details, etc.

Contact me if I can help.

photo credit: Mukumbura via photopin cc

By : Lydia Vogtner

Lydia Vogtner is an independent B2B marketing and communications consultant specializing in marketing, messaging and content strategy.

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