Tips for B2B Startups: A Process to Develop Your B2B Brand and Messaging Strategy
Are you a business-to-business (B2B) company that needs to create or revamp your brand and messaging strategy?
I specialize in helping B2B startups and small companies develop or revamp their brand story and messaging approach, and one of the most difficult things to explain is the process. I recently wrote a blog post called 4 Easy Tips to Develop Effective Messaging to give folks a starting point for what to think about and consider, but that’s just philosophy. When the rubber meets the road there’s more to it.
If you decide to hire a consultant or facilitator to help you shape your brand and messaging strategy, here are some basic considerations that may help you prepare:
- You and your team will need to participate in the process…a lot. There’s much to think about and decide. Be prepared for the time commitment.
- Trust whoever’s helping you. People who are good at figuring out a brand story and message probably use a tried-and-true process that works. Also, it is likely to be completely unfamiliar territory, particularly if you are a B2B company. Be prepared to listen, participate and be open-minded.
- Follow the process and try not to jump too far ahead. Much of what you’ll be asked to do won’t make sense or you will not appreciate because you can’t yet see where it’s leading. Be prepared to trust and follow (while also leading).
The baseline process you can expect:
- Discovery – Collect insights, intelligence and data about your business goals, target audience, value proposition, the industry and competitive landscape, etc.
- Synthesization/analysis – Hone in on your brand story and biggest opportunities to connect with audiences.
- Framework/starting point – Create a framework that serves as a launching pad for discussion and decisions.
- Brand strategy – Decide how your brand will be perceived in the marketplace; what you stand for; your values; your differentiation.
- Messaging strategy/approach – Decide how you will position and talk about your value so that your content and communications stand out.
- Messaging framework – Decide key messages and angles that everyone in the company will use to guide their communications (whether written or spoken).
The process to develop a compelling brand and messaging strategy can seem daunting to those new to strategic marketing principles, but it’s worth the investment and will result in a tight, compelling framework that gets everyone on your team in sync and gets you results.
Below are some good articles to help educate you more broadly on “brand-speak”. Some of this is great context before diving into a project or spending money.
- This article from Forbes stresses that building a brand is about perception. “It’s finding a way to tell a memorable story, evoke an emotional response, or even bring a certain image to mind.” This is what the process above will accomplish if done right.
- This is another article that emphasizes that a great brand strategy informs tactics that evoke an emotional response. It’s all about making your target audiences feel something and creating true connections.
- Branding Strategy Insider emphasizes that the power of a brand’s story “lies in a singular idea anchored in shared values between brand and audience”.
As you can see, the most powerful brands tell a story and make a connection with their audiences. Following a well-oiled process will help you do the same.
Also check out…