How effective branding can affect the bottom line.
Your brand is an asset that has direct monetary value. According to Market Street Research, numerous studies indicate that the strength of a company’s brand directly impacts financial metrics like sales effectiveness, market share, and margins. The investment you make in your brand will provide a monetary difference in both the short-term and long-term.
Here are four ways effective branding can impact the bottom line in business-to-business marketing:
1. Improve marketing ROI and sales effectiveness
A relevant, differentiating brand message affects every level of your sales funnel. You can improve response rates, generate qualified leads, open new doors and boost sales effectiveness.
Online shoe retailer Zappos has differentiated its brand with an iron-clad return policy and customer service that goes above and beyond. The idea of hassle-free online shoe shopping has been in Zappos’ DNA from the beginning. Features like 24-hour customer service and a 365-day return policy ensure that Zappos shoppers walk away happy. Their tagline refers to their competitive advantage, “Powered by Service.” One of their most popular policies is “If the shoe fits, wear it. If not, ship it back – at no cost to you – because a huge inventory almost guarantees you’ll find something else you like”.
Zappos is not the only online retailer to provide free shipping. Still, they had the big idea to make the return process a competitive advantage, building their brand around this customer benefit. Online footwear is a $3 billion business; Zappos holds a fifth of the market. With 4 million customers, the company has doubled its sales every year since 1999. Read CEO Tony Hsieh’s tremendously inspiring book Delivering Happiness for the powerful lessons he has learned in achieving his success and Happiness.
2. Thought leadership creates a competitive edge
Positioning your company as a resource and thought leader in your industry builds trust, credibility, engagement, and familiarity. Creating a perception that this is the kind of company you “want” to do business with can offset lower-priced competition.
HubSpot, the purveyor of content marketing tools, has had immense revenue growth (filing for a $100M IPO in 2014), an active and growing user base, and their marketing techniques generate much buzz, in return building familiarity and credibility in their industry.
For example, there is probably nothing hotter in marketing now than “content marketing.” HubSpot became a leader in this movement as a great marketer of content marketing evangelists about content marketing, and they have been great content marketers about content marketing. Specifically, their founders, Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah wrote the marketing book Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs. No better example of being a thought leader than coining the term that all digital marketers now use; Biran Halligan coined the term inbound marketing in 2005. These elements help HubSpot stand out from its competitors and succeed.
3. A cohesive brand across all platforms creates synergy
When you have a strong, unified brand image and message, you can leverage all elements of your strategy to support each other, from your website to advertising to content marketing.
Amazon’s logo was the perfect choice for building a consistent brand. The arrow points from a to z to show that Amazon carries everything imaginable, and the curved arrow brings a satisfied smile to mind.
By using the logo prominently across all marketing communications, packaging, social media sites, and apps, Amazon has created a very cohesive brand. They also feature the same intuitive design and clean organization throughout the apps and website so that you can browse comfortably on any platform.
Today the icon is so recognizable that most people can tell by the arrow alone where a brown cardboard box is from.
4. Rebranding improves performance
A rebranding campaign could breathe new life into your business and be an internal rallying point. A new direction and strategy provide internal alignment, unify, and improve performance.
In 2011, British Airways decided to take steps to stimulate support for the brand among its 32,000 staff in advance of a re-launch campaign. British Airways had been plagued with challenges, including a cabin crew strike, and global recession, driving the airline’s staff morale to an all-time low.
Using engaging, informative, integrated, and motivational campaigns, the airline sought to unite a disparate workforce, from cabin crew and engineers to baggage handlers and back-office staff. Social media, apps, and video were vital to the strategy. Traditional channels, such as print, forums, and intranet, also played a role.
British Airlines communicated a new ownership structure, a better economic outlook, resolution of the cabin crew dispute, and, most importantly, reignited the passion and belief in the brand. They created a new way of thinking that puts customers at the heart of everything they do, and their entire workforce has a part to play.
Their solid internal buy-in also allowed them to develop, both through their communications and marketing, a consistent tone of voice and an emotional connection with their audience with the tagline “To fly. To serve”