March 21, 2022

The Artful Ideation Behind Brilliant B2B Brands  

by Melissa Caffrey
[This is part 2 of a 4-part blog series about CATS (Courageous, Artful, Thoughtful, Scientific) a Renegade framework for building an unbeatable B2B brand.]

A brand is an idea. Once you’ve courageously set your strategy, it’s time to figure out what that idea is going to look like to the world. As in, what the brand will represent, how you’ll say it, and how it’s designed. This is where Artful Ideation comes in.

Renegade marketers are artful in the way they approach brand strategy and take great care to plan a brand that will stand up and stand out before bringing executing on their strategy. Below, find the 3 artful ways that B2B marketers can set up their branding initiatives for success.

  1. Welcome We

Marketers can’t drive meaningful organizational change on their own. There’s no excuse for any function to operate in a silo, and artful marketers will recognize that this also applies when it comes to developing a strong brand.

A brand needs to represent a company in its entirety, so you’re not going to be very successful if marketing is doing brand work in a silo. Below are three of the most important departments to ally with in the organization, and how to engage them when it comes to brand development (There’s a lot more to it—you can read the rest in our B2B Brand Strategy Report).

  • HR: Work with HR to field an employee survey that benchmarks attitudes about the company and gathers feedback on the brand. This information is vital to brand work because employees are who make up and represent your brand every day.
  • Sales: Align with sales by walking in their shoes. It’s one of the best ways to discover what your customer’s pain points are and how your brand is designed to uniquely help them Start by observing sales calls, then do a sales presentation on your own.
  • Finance: It’s important that your CFO understands how brand is the thread that can bring the entire organization together under one united, clearly defined purpose. And you need to understand the financial mechanics of the organization. Start the conversation so that you can get the budget you need to develop and execute an effective brand strategy.
  1. Perfect Pithy

You know your brand purpose, but you need to make sure it’s memorable. That means it can’t be a long paragraph waxing poetic about your brand; it needs to be a short, succinct tagline embedded with meaning—AKA a purpose-driven story statement.

These carefully crafted 8-words-or-less statements are the guiding light for employee engagement programs, customer retention initiatives, and new customer acquisition endeavors. They’re also the contingency plan you didn’t know you needed, a North Star to guide you out of any business challenge.

Here are a few steps to take to get to the purpose-driven story statement that’s right for your brand:

  • Research: Interview all stakeholders: employees, customers, industry experts, colleagues, the board, and beyond.
  • Summarize: Define “what” your brand does, “how” it does it, and “why.” This is where you define your positioning—and it can help to start by looking at your brand archetype.
  • Simplify: Ask what you can get rid of. Maybe you don’t need all those sub-brands beneath the larger one; time to figure out how they all work together to solve a unique need.
  • State It: Time to put the right words together in the right order. One thing to keep in mind before you set your heart on something: Always use the free TESS search tool (by US Trademark Office) to see if anyone has used this same language, then Google the exact wording with and without quote marks.
  1. Delight by Design

When it comes to branding, design matters. The same way that your brand purpose should differentiate you from the competition, so should the way your brand appears in the market. You want your brand to have a distinct look, feel, and voice that makes people remember you. See three crucial components of design below:

  • Color: Put together a wall of your competitors’ logos and note what colors stand out. Then add those colors to your “Do Not Use” list. It’s a seriously simple way to not get lost in a sea of whatever color your shared prospects are seeing.
  • Logo: As in everything else with B2B branding, less is more. A simple logo can go a long way when it comes to brand recognition.
  • Brand Voice: We recommend aligning your brand voice with one of the 12 Jungian archetypes, or to at the very least use them as a starting point when developing brand content.

For even more B2B Brand Strategy goodness, check out Drew Neisser’s latest book: Renegade Marketing: 12 Steps to Building Unbeatable B2B Brands.