B2B Brand Strategy: 3 Tools to Understand What Makes You Different
What makes you stand out from the crowd? And why should a customer choose you, anyway?
If you can’t answer these questions about your business, you won’t be able to convince potential customers that you offer the solution they need. An essential part of B2B brand strategy is determining your points of difference, or the compelling things that make your business unique. You can then use these points of difference as the basis of your marketing strategy, informing everything from your website design to your conversations with prospects.
How do you determine what makes you different? Especially if your business is in a large city or a highly competitive industry, you may be wondering how to distinguish your business from all the others out there. At Boomm, as we’ve helped clients identify their points of difference, we’ve found ourselves using certain tools to guide the way. These three tools are keys to understanding what makes your business different.
Tool 1: The “Only” Statement. The “only” statement fills in the blank, “We are the only company in our industry that…” It answers the question, “What does your company do better than anyone else?” This question can have a wide range of answers. Maybe your customer service is top-notch. Maybe you’ve innovated a new tool to perform a common task. Or perhaps your operation is more environmentally friendly than your competitors’. Whatever the answer, that is your competitive advantage.
A good “only” statement also answers the questions “who?” “what?” “when?” “where?” and “why?”, to create a complete picture of your business. It sums up the essence of your brand and gives a clear vision of your identity.
Tool 2: Voice of Customer Research. Wondering why people are attracted to your business? A great way to find out is to survey your current customers. Ask them why they chose you specifically, what they see as essential to your brand identity, and what your company has that they couldn’t find anywhere else. These surveys can be conducted in person, over the phone or via email. Voice of customer research can yield a wealth of information on your company’s strengths and help you understand how your current brand position is functioning. You may find that you and your customers have a very different view of your business, or that your B2B brand strategy is already working well and just needs to be tweaked. Whatever you find, you’ll be discovering insights that you can’t get anywhere else.
Tool 3: Value Pillars Model. This model is a way of envisioning your business identity. The “pillars” are the values that represent the foundation of your B2B brand strategy. When selecting values that sum up your business, there are three attributes that each value pillar needs to have:
- Relevance – it needs to be important to your target audience. For instance, if your customers care about quality and will pay top dollar for it, “inexpensive” is not a relevant value to build your brand strategy around.
- Ownability – it needs to contain a vision for the future. Don’t just focus on what your company is doing now; imagine how you would like your company to be perceived five or ten years down the road.
- Defensibility – it needs to represent your current competitive strengths. Don’t misrepresent your capabilities or put undue emphasis on dreams for the future that haven’t started materializing. If your customer service has been lackluster and you want to improve it, that’s a good goal to have, but “customer service” should not be one of your value pillars since it’s not yet a strength.
The value pillars should overlap with the “only statement” and the results of your customer research, but should also represent what you want your company to be known for in the future. They help you envision a path forward as you grow your current strengths and take ownership of your industry niche.
The results of using these three tools should inform your marketing strategy, design, content and lead generation. With them, you can hone in on your brand identity and your strongest selling points. Don’t just stick with the status quo—enhance your marketing based on what makes you different.
Title image: Stand Out from the Crowd Unique Golf Tee by Steven Depolo (Creative Commons)