What Are The Vital Qualities of a Great B2B Branding Agency?
Investing in the services and expertise of a B2B branding agency can be one of the best decisions your organisation makes. Whether you’re a startup or an existing company that needs an update, employing a third party can bring much-needed fresh eyes and opinions that those on the inside might not see. But what should you look for in a B2B branding agency? How do you know who to trust?
In this post, we’re going to discuss the fundamentals of B2B branding. We’re then going to outline the 5 vital qualities of a branding agency you need to look for. So let’s get started.
What is B2B Branding?
B2B branding is all about building connections with your users and presenting a consistent identity at every touchpoint. Overall, it’s about creating an experience. The experience helps your potential customers along their buying journey, and ultimately creates a lasting relationship.;
Although B2B and B2C branding share some similarities, there are some key differences. Understanding these differences will be vital to your success or failure in building a successful B2B brand. Firstly, B2B purchases are often much more considered and driven by need, logic, reason and price.
Customers will likely need to see facts and numbers, statistics, and to prove a business case. Although emotion does come into it, it’s often the fear of making a bad decision that drives behaviour. This is the opposite in many B2C transactions where emotions such as attraction, desire and status can be the driving force.
Also, many B2B purchases require the input and sign-off of multiple stakeholders, each with varying responsibilities, expertise and requirements. Ultimately, the goal is to develop a strong and recognisable brand image that will allow you to forge relationships across businesses. This means you’ll need to create an overarching brand strategy. To begin, you need to determine who you are as a brand and what it is that sets you apart.
A B2B branding agency will help you define your brand position and create a strategy, but what should you look for from your branding agency?
What to look for from a B2B Branding Agency
Do they practice what they preach?
Sounds obvious right? One of the first things to look for in a branding agency is to see if their own brand is strong and if they appear to walk the walk. After all, a branding agency is a B2B business itself, and they should be the best at it. Is their brand proposition clear? Do they communicate their mission and their values well? Do they have a distinctive brand personality? Do they appear to understand the challenges that a B2B business faces? Do they convince you that they can help your organisation overcome those challenges with a strong strategy and relevant tactics?
B2B branding encapsulates everything from visual and audio design, copy, imagery and video, UX and much more. If a branding agency puts the time, thought and effort into their own branding then you can have good confidence they will for you.
Understanding, Empathy & Curiosity
Both are vital to a successful partnership and to ensuring your branding agency delivers on your objectives. As we’ve discussed, B2B branding is not the same as B2C, and your agency needs to understand the different challenges that this brings.
At the beginning of the buying journey, when you’re reviewing websites and consuming marketing collateral, any agencies you look at need to demonstrate that they understand your situation and the challenges you face.
As you progress down the purchasing funnel and have discovery calls and meetings, they need to give you confidence. Two traits that all great branding agencies share are empathy and curiosity. Empathy means demonstrating that they understand your challenges and apprehensions, and are keen to work with you to solve your problems. Many agencies can adopt a we know best approach which demonstrates a lack of empathy. Although they are the experts, you still know your business or organisation better than them, and they should be keen to find out as much as possible.
Which brings us to curiosity. Curiosity is a vital quality in any B2B branding agency. Through initial conversations and working together, a good agency should ask you lots of questions about your organisation. They should be actively finding new ways to convey your messaging, for new tactics to reach your audience and identifying new ways to achieve your shared goals.
Proven Track Record & Relevant Portfolio
Any B2B branding agency you choose should also have a proven track record with a relevant portfolio of previous results. The nature of B2B branding means that even within similar niches, the differing range of products, services and audiences means that you need to engage an agency that has proven themselves with similar organisations to yours.
For example, a company that sells general IT equipment to organisations will likely be appealing to different audiences, via different channels, than a marketing SaaS product, despite ostensibly being within a similar sector.
A B2B branding agency that has a track record of helping businesses and organisations like yours is much more likely to be able to replicate that with you. Ask them for previous results, case studies and testimonials. A good agency will also be happy for you to talk directly to previous, satisfied customers.
At Withbrand, we offer a full range of B2B brand services to organisations of all sizes. Whether you need a full brand strategy, website or app design, UX, copywriting, or digital marketing, we’re happy to help.