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Hi, my name is Alison Murdock, and I am currently the Chief Marketing Officer at SocialChorus. We’re a work force communications platform that helps organizations connect and engage everyone in their work force and I am based in San Francisco, California.
I’ve worked in Silicon Valley and here in Europe with many startups over the last 20 years, helping them find their super powers and winning.
Having worked a long time in Silicon Valley, I often get asked about the “bro culture” and “how do you manage that?” With the exception of my own business which I had for 7 years, I’m often the single woman on the executive team. It’s not the most comfortable thing, but I work to be direct and not put up with bullshit. Because bullshit really sucks.
So, just a quick way to say I put myself out there as a female leader, I invite other women that I work with to lean on me, or if they need support to ask me questions. It’s the only way to break through, women supporting women. That’s why I’m really excited to be part of the series 50inTech, and as an important mission and as women we owe it to ourselves to support each other through: education, encouragement, and being a resource.
But, I’m really here today to talk to you about how to build and scale your B2B brand.
When you think about brand you might think billboards and expensive advertising, but brand is so much more than moving pixels around a page and making t-shirts. When you think about B2B, you don’t immediately think: “Oh brands”, instead you think: Dior, Nike, Apple.
But building a B2B brand it’s just as important, and the key differences that you’re appealing to a business person or group that is looking for you to solve a problem, they don’t actually make snap decisions and actually they’re happy to take a free trial. So, it poses a real challenge to build a brand that is differentiated.
What is the same with consumer brands is how you look, and how your product works, and whether you’re meeting the promise that you’ve offered to your customers. This is just as important for B2B companies. Customers want to believe that you can deliver. It’s never too early to think about your B2B brand, because you own it, and you can cultivate it, and scale it, and win.
There are three things you need to do to build your B2B brand and it feels like B2C but remember, we’re all buyers who are biased, we make judgments, and we feel an emotional connection to the brand. Just like in our everyday lives with any consumer product we use.
1/The first thing I would suggest is “write your narrative”.
That means write your story: why are you doing this company, why are you building this product, what do you hope to accomplish, what was the way before, and what will the way be now? Storytelling is something that’s “a thing” right now, it’s the oldest craft in the world; people would rather listen to your story than a pitch.
2/ The next thing to think about is the experience, you have to design the experience. We’re an Instagram society, how things look, how people interact with the product has never been more important. Has to be simple, has to be clear. When someone hits your webpage they’re making an immediate judgment. But, design is more than visuals and logos, it’s an experience in so many different ways. How does your product work? How do you navigate users through your platform? How many emails are you sending to people? What is your customer service like? How do you treat your employees?
3/ You get to design this, and you also get to talk about what you believe, this is the third thing. Be vocal. You are coming up with a philosophy for your business, your way of being an acting, it’s something you should be proud of. You own your story, you own your experience, you own your narrative, and you have to tell people about it. You can be authentic, you can be emotional. People remember how you made them feel and whether they connected with you.
Also, you’ve done the critical thinking that connects the dots between the why of your business and the how of your business… Now, how do you scale? It comes down to taking your brand to market and their three strategic ways to scale that B2B companies can do really easily.
1/ One is content marketing. How do you promote your narrative and your beliefs to your target audience? Your company has a story you can craft an editorial calendar and build thought leadership around what you do.You can use research to support your claims and hard data to back up your brand promise.
2/ You can also use PR. PR simply amplifies everything you’ve done in content marketing and your research might be interesting to a journalist, you never know. But, it’s another way to get your story out there and scale it.
3/ Finally, sales and marketing, so bringing your ethos to prospective customers; they’ve read about you and now they want to meet you, so your sales people need to be trained about how to talk about your company and what to say. If they believe in you, they will do a great job, but you have to train them.
Also, make sure that you treat your prospective customers in a way that is commensurate with the brand your building. You can’t say best service ever and then take two days to respond; just will not fly.
Marketing also needs to align with your brand. I know first hand how much there is to do in marketing, every single day, and it’s really hard. Things can really go off brand; especially in all of the channels and all of the formats that you’re producing. But it’s up to your entire team in your entire company to: promote the brand, scale it, and be consistent. If it stops working, then, everyone’s on board to make the change.
If you enjoyed these tips today I encourage you to jump onto the 50inTech platform. It’s an amazing resource for all sorts of sales and marketing product company tips, investing… Everything is there. I would love to hear from you and get your questions and continue the conversation on the platform.