Over the past 17 years, I have had the pleasure of working with fantastic brands in both the B2C (business-to-consumer) and B2B (business-to-business) worlds. Throughout my career, I’ve come to realize that brand is quite a loaded concept for most organizations. The term itself often means something radically different depending on the context and situation, and every vertical seems to approach and prioritize brand strategy and planning in their own unique way.
That being said, most modern marketers know that brand is more than just a logo or a splashy ad campaign. These days, your brand is the experience you provide. The fact that it encompasses every little touchpoint a customer has with your business, both online and offline, is both liberating and overwhelming.
Think about it. Every email, event or visit to your website or office space and every interaction a customer has with your people or your services all bleed together in their minds and feed the overall impression they form of your firm. Where marketers often go wrong is not seeing these interactions as part of a larger brand strategy.
A brand strategy is particularly essential for PSOs and B2B organizations because what you’re offering isn’t tangible (i.e. your clients aren’t unboxing something like an iPhone). For these types of firms, making arbitrary decisions based on individual touchpoints will no longer cut it. The PSOs that win are those who will learn to develop and nurture an end-to-end brand strategy that accounts for any and every interaction they’ll have with customers.
Why get it right?
Without a defined end-to-end brand strategy, every practitioner is the sole deliverer of your brand. In other words, you’re exhausting your people and working harder than you need to. Brand helps “grease the skids” — making it easier to drive revenue, keep clients sticky, and even attract and retain top talent (a benefit particularly useful in today’s tight labor market).
Here are six strategies to help you create a successful end-to-end brand strategy.
- Create a brand playbook. The first step is getting consensus around what matters most to your organization and turning that into a brand playbook or bible. Every brand platform should include the 4 Ps:
- Purpose – What your brand stands for.
- Positioning – The value you offer customers over competitors.
- Persona – Your brand’s personality attributes.
- Promise – Your vision and values.
Digital is not an afterthought
Digital is an essential part of the brand experience. Today, user expectations are higher than ever before. Google, Amazon, Uber, etc. have set a high bar. So, if your UX isn’t amazing, the reality is customers and prospective employees might look elsewhere.
If you’re interested in exploring how your firm can develop a memorable end-to-end brand strategy, let’s connect. You can also check out a presentation that my colleague Kalev Peekna and I gave at the 2019 LMA Annual Conference: From PSO to PSB: A New Model for Creating Differentiated Brand Experiences