We can’t talk about Account-Based Marketing without emphasizing the importance of building brand.
To build a brand, you first need to deconstruct every part of the organization and then piece it together to form a well-equipped and high-converting brand. Unfortunately, many companies are attached to a brand or perception that they didn’t intentionally create. The brand just morphed into existence by happenstance and without much thought, and until a negative customer review hits or at the point when growth has flatlined due to competition, that’s usually the only time that leadership realizes that they have no brand. The damage is already done by then, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be corrected.
An effective ABM process requires brand integration so that the points of engagement, content strategy, and the account nurturing process have a cohesive narrative and selling proposition. You can certainly proceed with ABM without having a strategic brand strategy in place, but at some point, you’ll be forced to revisit how the brand aligns with the ABM playbook when it’s clear that there’s a message disconnect somewhere along the funnel.
Developing a strategic brand is deliberate. It entails creating a compelling story for the business that promotes a compelling value proposition to the customer. The messaging and company ethos is built around this narrative, and every customer touchpoint and experience reflects this. Ultimately, the brand must be matched to the value proposition, audience engagement strategies, marketing messaging, storytelling and customer experiences, branded content, and performance marketing strategies.
Sometimes a stale or tarnished brand can rebound by simply identifying the gaps or readjusting the value proposition or narrative. Other times, it’s much more efficient to deconstruct the brand and start from scratch, especially when there wasn’t a written brand plan, to begin with. The following are a few essentials to consider depending on which route you take.
Start from Basics: Start from the very beginning of auditing a brand and understanding what you are solving for and its awareness factor.
The process of reconstructing a brand has to be more cohesive so that it develops the narrative and creates a road map going forward. First comes the purpose of your brand, what you solve for, and then comes the revenue growth and brand awareness.
Once there’s a brand plan in place, the next step is to align it with the sales process and ABM strategy.
Integration: You are required to combine together the tech and marketing stack, the ABM, the courtship, and hence create a funnel.
All of this together essentially helps in moving the prospects from awareness to engagement to interest and all the way down to sales and then again upselling them to create the affinity of word of mouth.
So, it’s essentially a big giant account nurturing machine that you have to piece together after understanding each and every part of this process. And of course, the brand must be integrated into each of these components.
Building brand value: A brand, at its core, is not just content, it’s not just a logo, it’s not just some colors. No doubt, these things are important, but a brand really is a promise to customers.
It’s what someone thinks of you, what they feel like, how they react to who you are, and what you stand for. And you really need to work on your brand before anything else. Don’t lose sight of who you are and why you exist. Then focus on what you want to convey externally to build that trust with the customer.
Insights-led content: Once you know who you are and what you do to build customer value as a brand, you can move towards content. Content is an extension of your brand, and people associate that content with your brand. The content you create shows what your brand really is, and why your brand matters.
Using thought leadership to develop brand strategy: This is a value-oriented mechanism of putting the CEO’s knowledge into action. Thought leadership not only helps show customers why you are best, but it builds trust. When you can leverage the perceived expertise of your CEO, you have the opportunity to project a believable, relatable extension of your brand.