August 22/29, 2016; Volume 31, Number 5
Social media, webinars, customer ratings, digital channels and content have helped level the playing field for competitors and are driving a fundamental shift in how industrial professionals discover, evaluate and purchase products and services. That begs the question: With all of this information now easily available, does branding still matter?
If you think of branding as a strategic initiative that encompasses everything your company does to build trust and credibility with customers and prospects, then branding matters. If you accept the fact that your brand is defined by how customers and prospects think and feel about your company, products and services, then branding is arguably more important now than ever, experts say.
Following are five reasons why it’s worth making the investment in creating a strong brand:
- Strong brands reduce risk for customers and prospects. A strong brand mitigates the perception of risk that accompanies significant investments and alleviates some of the fear that buyers inevitably experience when they’re facing a major purchase decision.
- A strong brand offers clarity. Effective branding puts a stake in the ground that says to all involved: “This is who we are, this is what we do, this is why we do it.”
- A strong brand fosters trust. Business is all about relationships, even when the products offered for sale might be perceived as a commodity. Relationships are based on trust; without it there is no transaction. If a potential customer trusts your brand, he or she is more likely to buy from you.
- A strong brand builds customer loyalty. Many companies have customers they have supplied for years. These are your loyal customers. They buy from you with confidence. They buy knowing their expectations will be met and any issues will be quickly resolved.
- A strong brand can shorten the sales cycle. If your brand is known and recognized in your market and among potential customers, your company’s salespeople can save a lot of time by not having to explain what your company is about and why a prospect should buy from you. With an unknown brand, salespeople are starting at the bottom rung with every sales opportunity, working to convince prospects your company and products are worthy.