The pandemic taught us a great deal over the past two years about adapting amidst disruption. It’s likely 2022 has its unique host of challenges, however, I’m truly excited to be part of this new marketing world. With constant change comes the opportunity to innovate, creating possibilities for a much brighter future.
At CFA Institute, we continue to uphold the idea that sales need to be built overnight, but brands need to be built over time. I’ve written before about the delicate balance between brand and demand and this will be an area marketers must continue to focus on. Without alignment between brand awareness and demand generation campaigns, you’re leaving opportunities to develop stronger customer relationships and experiences. And nobody wants to do that!
Shaping your brand voice and telling your brand story will be key to making your brand stand out, and forge lasting relationships with customers. Here are some thoughts on how to approach this.
The B2B Institute found that 77 percent of B2B creative fails to register emotionally or create long-term impact. This is a strong wake-up call to brands, urging them to figure out how to best create a more distinct brand voice. How can brands create something unique that would get customers to truly pay attention? Working professionals are also human beings with lives, feelings, and experiences. Instead of developing rational content and messaging, today’s B2B brands need to tap into customer emotions to form strong connections.
One way to do this is by ensuring that the voice of your customers is reflected in your brand voice. Rather than just having a name and a logo, a brand voice helps B2B players humanize their customer interactions and relate to them on a more personal level.
B2B marketers must provide customers with relevant and authentic information. They need to figure out why their audiences need to care about what they’re doing and lean into that. When done well, authenticity is a business growth engine that can also boost brand trust. And with this year’s ‘Edelman Trust Barometer‘ showing trust in U.S businesses has declined, any increase in brand trust is a much-needed benefit. Once your customers understand and trust that your brand shares the same goals and values, they will be much more likely to really hear what you have to say.
As you finetune your brand voice, make sure you’re implementing it across all marketing channels—website, blogs, social media platforms, and other marketing collaterals. Brand voice consistency is crucial to gaining and maintaining the trust of potential and current customers. Find ways to branch out the brand voice knowledge to your sales and customer support teams. This will help boost your company’s credibility in the market.
The term “digital marketing” may as well not exist anymore. With the rapid acceleration of digital transformation across every industry, marketing has become inherently digital. If you haven’t already re-imagined your customer’s journey in an entirely online environment or adopted a digital-centric marketing strategy, now is the time to do so. Whether it’s upgrading your website, in-person or virtually, optimizing your site for mobile, or ratcheting up your event presence, embracing a digital-first mindset is key to meeting—and hopefully exceeding— customer expectations.
Capture relevant data and dive into it, your brand can use these real-time insights to gauge your customer’s opinions about your brand. Data needs to serve as a strong source to inform how your customers are perceiving and responding to your brand voice, which will then help you accelerate or re-strategize if the need arrives.
2022 demands B2B marketers to scratch beyond the surface of being “digital” and “personal” for the sake of it. The above-mentioned approaches serve as pillars to establish a brand voice that does exactly that. A credible brand voice will help achieve depths that allow your customers to sit firmly at the center of your marketing strategy. Access these opportunities to stand out from the competition in a meaningful way. And don’t forget to ensure that your brand-building efforts align strongly with your customers’ actual needs.
Michael Collins is CMO and Managing Director of CFA Institute.
He has led marketing teams in multimillion- and billion-dollar organizations, driving steady growth and profit through visionary marketing strategy and disciplined execution.
Michael’s worldwide team of 125 people aligns centralized global strategy with regional marketing execution.
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