August 22, 2019
This is the second blog in a two-part series on how to keep brand messaging fresh, relevant and above all differentiated. In the first, Bernard Guly, Senior Partner at Finn Partners’ Manufacturing & Trade Division, stressed the importance of thought leadership and tone of voice. Here, Bernard goes on to consider the importance of consistency of communications and building an emotional connection through the brand
To maintain differentiation in the marketplace, companies need to periodically re-assess their messaging and brand positioning to ensure they present the company correctly and maintain a fresh and relevant image.
Evaluations should consider carefully how the company’s offering relates to competitor products and services. Brand positioning should reflect the unique selling points (USPs) of the company and leverage those USPs to maximum effect.
Be consistent and focus on your strengths
While focusing on the company strengths, consistency is all-important. If you are reworking your brand messaging to reflect the company’s values and positioning and thereby influence external perception, you have to make sure the key threads run through all visual and verbal communications from then on.
This is essential to build recognition and understanding and reinforce your key messages at every point with every one of your key stakeholders – whether internal or external. Major global brands such as BMW or Apple, for example, can convey through a simple image and a handful of words what their brand stands for, wherever they are in the world, and that is achieved through rigorous discipline and control of the brand messaging wherever it is used – and that is the ideal.
People buy from people
Interestingly, that features, benefits and even customer service are no longer great differentiators out in the marketplace, and when you analyse companies and their competitors their messages in these areas are very similar. That gives us a challenge on what to focus on outside of these perceived value-adds.
How, therefore, can marketing and PR help build engagement? When it comes to B2B, I believe it boils down to people buying from people. In other words, the strength of relationships and this is the case whether you’re a SME or a major global brand.
What we need to understand when we are looking at a brand is how the company relates to its business partners and how to build an emotional connection through brand thinking and messaging. We must look to demonstrate that this company really cares about you and your company and about mutual success and in this way set it apart from other players in the field. Emotion and care are two key brand components these days that will cut through the noise and deliver enhanced differentiation in the marketplace.
Prospects will judge brands in terms of who they want to work with, who they are most comfortable with and who they have an emotional connection with, as well as what they’re looking to achieve. If your brand, messaging and people are all consistently on the same page, this should help put you in a commanding position in the markets you serve.