Why Brand Management is Industry Agnostic
Tons of B2C companies have incredible brands. But believe it or not: Branding is a big deal in every industry – from telecom and tech, to finance and energy. Here’s why.
Brands like Coca-Cola, Apple, and Nike are ubiquitous. Everyone knows their logos, and most could recite their slogans at a moment’s notice.
But branding isn’t just reserved for popular consumer products or multi-national corporations like most people think. Nor is it only useful when selling tangible B2C products like food, cars, and shoes. Branding can make a huge impact on businesses in every industry. And that includes service-based companies offering B2B solutions.
In fact, in some ways, branding is more impactful for B2B brands than it is for B2C brands because it allows these businesses to differentiate themselves in a way they otherwise couldn’t while creating a memorable experience for existing and new customers.
Let’s dig into the specific reasons why branding is important across the board and explore four surprising industries where businesses can (and should!) take advantage of corporate branding.
Branding is Important Regardless of Your Industry
Branding is the process of creating a recognizable identity for your business to generate long-term positive impressions of your company. It involves everything from your messaging and visuals to all sorts of sensory items.
Branding isn’t about creating a nice color palette or a sleek logo design, though. The point is to create an experience that customers resonate with, so they’re more inclined to stick with you.
And that means you need to involve every department and team – from marketing to frontline employees – in the brand-building process.
Why do you need to create a brand experience if you aren’t selling tickets to Disney World or inviting people to stay at the Four Seasons, though? After all, B2B businesses don’t have an experience to offer, right?
Wrong. In fact, B2B businesses with less glamorous products actually have as much to offer in the way of experience as a Royal Caribbean cruise does – if not more so.
From the first impression onward, every touchpoint creates an experience - complete with interactions, media, products, events, and learning.
Here's why that matters.
Branding Brings Invisible & Intangible Products to Life
When you sell an intangible product, branding can feel challenging. After all, you can’t slap your logo design on it or hold it up in a digital marketing ad or commercial to show customers how great it is.
However, you can sell the experience connected to your product to help customers conceptualize what you offer and make it more appealing than the technical jargon might make it seem.
Take a look at how this works in a few different industries.
Branding of Telecom & Hosting Services
For telecom businesses, the big selling point is rarely a physical phone. It’s the network. The invisible threads that connect cell phones (and their users) to the internet and other people.
But most of the time, that’s a difficult thing for customers to wrap their heads around. After all, the only way they can experience your network is via their mobile devices.
Good branding allows you to turn the abstract concept of a network into a recognizable physical product of its own. And when connected with strategic brand messaging, it can also help you differentiate your business and create a brand experience your customers want.
Building a telecom brand like this requires careful strategy and planning, though. Luckily, the telecom leaders in the UK and Germany have already paved the way for others to follow. See how they’re doing it, here.
Branding of Financial Services
Financial institutions offer various services, including insurance, mortgage loans, and secure cloud systems to store money. But, as with other types of services, you can’t see or feel finance. The closest you can get to a physical product is the tangible money you store on their servers and in their vaults.
However, with fintech businesses disrupting the market with promises of better, faster financial solutions, the need for branding in this industry is greater than in many others.
Branding offers existing banks and credit unions an opportunity to redefine the experience associated with their financial institutions and win over more loyal customers. It also enables them to help customers feel calm and comfortable.
Because finance businesses have a careful line to walk when branding their institutions though, it’s valuable to know which industry best practices actually work. Check out this article for specific tips and tricks that top banks are using to build competitive brands today.
Branding in the Tech World
Tech is arguably the most saturated and competitive industry in existence today. Between SaaS and AI alone, there are thousands of companies vying for the top spot on search engines, social media, and review sites like G2 and Software Advice.
But tech and media brands also have a unique challenge that other industries just don’t. They live entirely online. Everything from the product to the support is housed in the cloud, hidden behind account passwords.
Besides that, successful tech and media businesses are among some of the best branded companies out there. From their color palettes to messaging to live interactions, everything is perfectly on point.
As a result, if you want to compete in the tech and media world, strong branding is non-negotiable. You need it to be seen, and you need to keep your visitors’ attention. Most importantly, because your solution exists online, you need a brand to help customers experience their desired emotions at every digital touchpoint.
Want to know how stand-out brands in the tech and media industry are doing it? Check out this post for helpful examples and advice.
Branding: The Power of the Light Bulb in the Energy & Utility Services
When we use power – we interact with the results of the product rather than the product itself. We feel cold air in our homes during the sweltering summers, enjoy comfortable heat in the winter, and turn on the lights whenever the sun goes down. We rely on charging stations to help us communicate, Wi-Fi modems to work, and stovetops to cook too.
However, utility businesses can’t market washing machines, light bulbs, or blenders. Somehow, they need to promote a product that powers those products.
That’s where brand building comes in. By developing a world-class brand, utility companies can more easily create a “tangible” identity for their invisible products. And they can connect with their target audience in a more personal way – which allows them to build trust and leads to greater customer loyalty and brand value.
Here’s how top energy and utility businesses in the UK and Germany are creating powerhouse brands.
Brand Differentiation Comes From Positioning, Not Products
Differentiation has always been critical to business success. Not only does it define your marketing strategy, but it also allows you to charge your desired price for your products and services. And without it, your customer base has little reason to pick you over your competitors and stick with you long-term.
But the reality is: people are making purchase decisions based on your vision, narrative, and values – not just the quality of your products anymore. As a result, you can’t strictly push your product differentiators and expect to generate the revenue, referrals, and brand loyalty you’re after. You need to develop a differentiated brand position your customers can get behind.
In other words, you need to pin down answers to questions like:
- Why do we do what we do?
- What do we stand for?
- Where do we want our customers and the world to be? And how will we help them get there?
This allows you to connect with your customers on a deeper level and give a meaningful purpose to your products, services, and innovation. If it resonates with people, it also creates a valuable reason for them to choose your products over your competitors and encourages them to keep coming back.
Your Corporate Branding is Your Equity Driver
Some businesses, even small businesses, do such an exceptional job with their branding that they’re able to climb into the luxury category and charge a premium for their products. (Think Rolls Royce, Apple, Rolex, or Dior.)
But the question is how? What is it about their brands that allows them to charge top dollar?
The answer is really simple. For some, the exorbitant price comes from the high-quality materials and labor it takes to create their products. But for most, it can be chalked up to their brand equity, or the value customers place on their products and brand. The higher the equity, the higher the price.
To build their brand equity, these companies follow Kevin Lane Keller’s brand equity model, layering personalized brand experiences and interactions on top of a good brand identity. This foundation enables them to build lasting relationships with their customers and generate positive feelings.
Since none of this is tied up with physical products, B2B brands can emulate this effort by creating their own brand identity – complete with visuals and messaging – and infusing it into every interaction and touchpoint their customers experience.
Investing in Your Brand Saves Money
Branding doesn’t just impact customers, though. It also influences your bottom line by generating internal time and cost savings.
For instance, with a strong brand strategy in place, marketing teams can spend significantly less time orchestrating feedback loops with external partners and freelancers, because everyone has the information they need to create on-brand collateral.
At the same time, employees in all departments can spend less time searching for brand guidelines and assets (or bothering the marketing team to get them), because they already have what they need handy. This means everyone can spend more time on valuable projects that drive revenue and create a positive customer experience.
With a full brand management suite, Frontify enables businesses of all shapes, sizes, and industries to build successful and memorable brands. Want to know more about how we can help you? Book a call with our team, here.
Not sure if Frontify is right for you? Download our free guide to see how brand management software can save you hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.