Why does it take a stranger multiple conversations and a lot of time spent with you to share personal information or feel comfortable with you? It’s because they don’t know you, right? It takes time to build trust.
The same is true for the B2B marketing world. You may be creating wonderful campaigns and the most interesting ads. You may have a great product or offer the best services. But you could still be losing potential leads because there are people out there who don’t know who you are and therefore, are yet to trust you.
For a small business that’s just starting up, it’s easy to see the importance of building a brand. But for a well-known business, you may say, “our audience knows us well enough.” But if you want to grow your audience, is it safe to stop there? If brand awareness is the extent of how familiar with your brand a prospect is, and their level of familiarity with your brand influences their level of engagement with you, isn’t it safe to say that building your brand plays a huge part in attracting new prospects?
Since growth is an obvious goal for most businesses, we, as businesses, need to build our brands to grow our audience. So no matter how well-known you are, you never stop introducing yourself as a brand.
Now before you think this doesn’t apply to you, you should know this topic is broader than you may think. There are stages of branding and all businesses fall into one of them. So let’s take a quick look at the five stages.
The Stages of Brand Awareness
- Brand Absence
This is simply when prospects don’t recognize your brand. This is square one for most businesses. If they’re not at this stage now, they’ve been here before. It’s possible to have been around for a while and be in this stage. It could be the result of unclear messaging that causes people be unsure of what you offer.
- Brand Awareness
The meaning is in the name. This is when people are aware of your brand. It isn’t accurate to say that in this stage they really know and trust, but they’ve heard of you.
- Brand Preference
This is when you’ve built up enough trust with prospects that they chose you over other brands. This is a good place to be.
- Brand Loyalty
At this stage, you are not only preferred by your audience, you are sought after. They want you and no one else. You reach this stage when you’ve built a relationship with your audience.
- Brand Advocacy
This is the ultimate stage for your brand where your audience loves your brand so much, they do your advertising for you. They speak of how much they love you and what they love about you, and this influences others to buy in.
Building Your Brand
Now that we’ve established the stages and hopefully, you’ve identified where you are on the branding scale, let’s look at a few ways to build your brand.
To establish trust, you have to prove to your audience you care about more than how their engagement benefits you. An obvious step that should come before this is…that you need to care about more than how their engagement benefits you. Tailoring your messaging around their interests, pain points, concerns, etc. and creating content around those topics is a great way to portray this. These set the stage for you to show you’ve taken time to get to know what matters to your audience and are capable of providing solutions.
Another thing that helps to establish trust with your audience is for you to be a company that stays true to your word. Only promise what you can deliver. It seems like a no-brainer but it’s easy to get caught up in flashy advertising that promises the world just to hook a prospect. Pretending to be something you’re not even on a small scale can cost you your audience’s trust.
Know Your Audience
To grow your brand, you’ll need to get in front of your audience. But how can you do that if you don’t know who they are? What demographic does your brand appeal to? What social media platforms does your audience use? What devices does your audience use most? Finding these answer will take research. It may even take surveys you conduct. But this information is worth it. Only when you identify your audience can you begin to appeal to them.
Be Consistent in Your Branding
There’s a constant issue we have at our company, Randall-Reilly. Sometimes, people drop the hyphen in between the words “Randall” and “Reilly.” The issue is that if you drop the hyphen and type in Randall Reilly, it brings up the LinkedIn account of a man named Randall Reilly.
It’s surprising that something as seemingly insignificant as a hyphen in a company name sometimes stands in the way of us and potential prospects.
So, as you can see, it’s important to be consistent in your branding. Wherever your company name is written, make sure it is written correctly. Your brand colors should be reflected in all your ads and messaging so people’s minds easily tie what they’re seeing to anywhere else they’ve seen you and connect the dots. This is an aspect of branding that is often overlooked and happens to play a larger part in you catching the attention of prospects than you might think.
Keep Your Brand Current
Being outdated is a sure way to lose business or get ignored by potential prospects. A great example of a business that kept up with the times is MySpace. As a social media platform, they were quickly and easily overshadowed by the likes of Facebook, Instagram, etc. So they underwent a huge redesign and revamped their “product” by shifting away from being a social media platform and identifying themselves instead as a music platform. Now they’re backed by the likes of Justin Timberlake and have musicians posting their music on the site.
For you, it may not take that much of a change to stay up to date. You may need to make small but important shifts like making sure your site is easily accessible on mobile, one of the most used devices these days. Or perhaps, you may need to give your logo a new sleeker design. Find out what’s best for you when it comes to keeping up with and staying ahead of your competitors.
Branding Takes Time
In addition to all this, you have to remember that building a brand takes time. You have to see it as you investing in your audience. So be patient with your branding and give it time to take effect.