A person with a suitcase pops into your office and starts talking about “using cutting-edge strategies to utilize complex revenue-building operations and increase bottom line”. They show you a Powerpoint presentation with 173 slides, stuffed with endless paragraphs about your strategic goals in 10 years…
What do you do?
Do you stare in awe and start throwing money at them… Or do you call security to escort them out?
It’s no wonder that people look at brand strategists as snake-oil salesmen
The truth is, our marketing industry is filled with fluff… And strategic documents you oftentimes see are just plain, nice-looking documents you put into your drawer… Before you start wondering again what to do and how to start the marketing engine in your company.
I mean, all you need is an actionable document that tells you exactly what to do, when, and what to hope for.
And most of the time, all you get is a mini-book you just forget about.
So let’s imagine another scenario
A person walks into your office and gives you an easily comprehensible 4-5-step process, walks you through it, and delivers a clear document with policies to pursue, and a benchmark to compare your activities and see whether what you’re doing is good or not.
What do you do?
In human-friendly language, what exactly is a b2b brand strategy?
If we talk in terms of software, B2B brand strategy is the front-end side. That’s the business side people see when they interact with you.
Your front-end relies heavily on your back-end architecture, meaning that you have to carefully optimize both so they work in synchronization.
Having a brand strategy means you’ve defined how you’re going to communicate with the world around you… As well as internally, with your employees.
It’s called strategy because it serves as a guideline for all of your actions.
If your strategy revolves around being a service provider for affluent individuals and everything should be shiny like Las Vegas…
- You probably won’t talk about discounts. Pricing strategy checked.
- And you’ll hire top-notch talent and nurture them like endangered species. Hiring policies checked.
- Your social media won’t deal with small businesses, but rather with increasing the wealth of rich people. Marketing checked.
- When coming up with a tagline, logo, colors… You’ll have fewer (and more focused) options. Design checked.
- You won’t pay much attention to lower-rated competitors that target SMEs. Business plan checked.
Etc, etc… The point is, a good strategy identifies your (and your competitors’) strengths and superpowers, weaknesses, opportunities, crucial business problems, and means of overcoming them through efficient communication and focused actions.
Actually, a good brand strategy is all about finding the problem and our superpower for handling that problem
So how do you actually make an effective b2b brand strategy? There are many frameworks. One might say that there are as many frameworks as there are strategists.
The simplest one (that lies in the core of all others and is used by many) is the 5W strategy.
- Why do we do this?
- What and how do we do this?
- Who’ll have the benefits from our service/product?
- What stops us from achieving desired results?
- What are we going to do to overcome this obstacle?
Of course, there’s a lot of work involved before finding the answers to these questions… But organize an internal meeting and try to do it.
My promise to you is that – by having these 5W’s defined, you’ll have achieved a step beyond many of your competitors.
Stay away from wishful thinking
Because strategy isn’t – “we’re going to be category leaders in 10 years”. That’s your ambition.
And ditch that note that says “we’re going to achieve 25% growth in the next quarter” – because that’s a strategic goal – not a strategy. (a crucial difference)
But “what prevents us from growing and how to start growing/avoid stagnation” – that’s where the strategy actually begins and ends.