Our goal with this Cheat Sheet is to help you scale brand awareness so that it ultimately fuels customer acquisition and pipeline acceleration.
Blueprint Creative’s Brand Awareness Cheat Sheet
In layman’s terms, having a well structured brand creates competitive positioning and market differentiation.
At Blueprint Creative, our strategy is to help our clients do it the Tesla and Red Bull way...to shift from an advertising-first position and instead help them innovate to advance the business and brand. This may sound complicated or too technical but it’s not.
In other words, whether you think that Tesla’s brand (and stock) is valued at whatever it is at the time that you’re reading this, it doesn’t matter because Elon Musk (Tesla’s founder) has built so much brand equity around innovation that the brand’s value continues to expand as he innovates.
So many businesses have the wrong idea about branding. Some think that it’s all about imagery - whether it’s the creative side (i.e logo, visuals) or the tactics (i.e. PR). Others think that branding is about the taglines and the repetitive things that you can get people to remember.
It’s all and neither at the same time. All of those things are a function of building a brand and at the same time, none of them are enough to build a brand. For the purposes of this Cheat Sheet and as our agency’s take on this, branding is when you claim a stake, dig a deep ditch, and pour all of the outputs into building up that claim.
So from a practical standpoint, let’s go back to the example we shared about the law firm that called us after doing everything possible to grow awareness in their niche. They did everything to promote the firm and attract more clients, including Facebook ads and PPC, social media, PR, webinars, etc. Nothing worked, and two other competing firms with greater market share and scale seemed to attract the biggest clients.
Honestly, this is a typical scenario for many businesses. You’re doing everything that you know works for other businesses, yet it lacks scale.
For the law firm, we had to do a bit of discovery to carve out a claim that only they could own, and then exploit that for revenue growth. That may seem more difficult than it sounds since it seems impossible to find a new lane that your competitors aren’t already occupying. But it’s actually very possible. You’ll be surprised by how many of your competitors have brand gaps that are waiting for you to exploit.
Without giving away too much of what we did for the law firm, here’s a summary. Our discovery of current and past clients found that there was a common thread in the interests of their highest value clients. We discovered that many of their clients were avidly into adventure sports whether that be boating, deep sea fishing, or biking, none of which has anything to do with legal matters. Yet, we used this as an opening.
We didn’t make a beeline straight into adventure sports, and we didn’t create a niche in that category. Instead, we used the various interests to storytell using legal analogies around adventure sporting, and then layered the law firm’s brand on top. Very methodical to do and precision is necessary in order to get it right or else you risk looking like a fool, but we pulled it off. The law firm started to gain more market share because of the way we helped them reconnect with the audience and this was confirmed when they beat out their top competitor for a big client that was considering both firms among others.
So here it is.
1. You’re selling the wrong thing.
Sometimes the biggest mistake you make is the easiest one to overlook. Too many businesses are me, me, me - you’re all about your product and service and not about the customer. You may not think that’s true, and that your #1 focus is the customer. Well, if you go back and look at your last 20 pieces of content, social media, and website, what are you selling - your products/services or the future of how your prospect’s life will improve with your products/services? We’ll bet that you’re selling your products/services because that’s what most businesses do.
A lot of B2B marketing is self serving and treats the branding process like job interviews. The business sells itself by talking about its qualifications and track record and really only just pushing its own agenda. Successful relationships are bi-directional. Otherwise, you fail in placing the focus on the customer.
The right way is to sell against your prospect’s problems and headaches and doing a bit of future pacing - painting a specific picture of how your prospect’s life will improve with your products/services.
For example, a law firm doesn’t sell legal services. They’re selling peace of mind and security. Similarly, a makeup line isn’t selling beauty. What they’re really selling is confidence. Mercedes Benz isn’t just selling an automobile. They’re selling prestige and legacy. Similarly, Toyota is selling durability. Blueprint Creative Group isn’t selling marketing services. We’re selling business transformation and revenue growth.
This is the core of branding.
2. Rethink how you view strategy.
So much of how small businesses view marketing is tactics driven – focused on soft metrics such as impressions, engagement, and response – instead of focusing on what drives business impact. As an example, a company would approach social media as a strategy and expect to see results from it, and then be disappointed when it doesn’t pan out as expected. Social media isn’t a strategy. Neither is public relations, email marketing, ads or any of the other communications tactics that are typically deployed.
Strategy creates a big picture plan that drives up to business impact (i.e. revenues, new business, sales, etc). And branding’s role is to create marketing and brand impact that drives up to business impact. Everything that you do underneath that umbrella looks and feels like the overarching strategy and isn’t ad hoc (aka social media). Otherwise, there’s a big disconnect and you’re losing brand value.
3. Leverage thought leadership to build brand equity.
To build a strong brand name, the company needs to be a pacesetter in innovation and thought leadership. Building thought leadership allows a business to tap into in-house talent, passion, innovation and community participation to position as a source of authority in your respective industry or for your target customer. In other words, thought leadership drives organic sales and brand. And thought leadership is more than just authoring articles and securing interviews. Thought leadership should happen across all functions of the company, but especially at the top with the CEO.
Continuing with the law firm scenario, our approach to creating thought leadership was to create a podcast around adventure sports and to invite influencers in that space to be guests. Imagine the organic awareness this approach attracted and how much better positioned the law firm was.
We hope that this list of 3 tips gives you additional ideas on how to leverage brand and scale awareness. There’s a lot more in the Cheat Sheet but it would be way too long if we included it all in one shot. So we’ll share a cheat sheet later for lead generation, using Facebook ads, and more.
90-Day Blueprint: Restructure your entire marketing strategy in 90 days or less!
This is for you if:
Your marketing is underperforming, at a standstill, or non-existent
You have little to no brand awareness or your brand is stale and needs a refreshing
You have no lead generation strategy and need to build an organic pipeline of leads
Your content strategy sucks
Your business needs to scale and grow to its next level
COVID-19 has forced your business to restructure
You don't want to keep making the same branding mistakes in 2021
90-Day Drip: Restructure Your Entire Marketing Strategy
We've created a practical system to help B2B companies restructure their marketing infrastructure so that it ultimately results in a funnel that generates, nurtures and converts new business into revenue.
How to Build Brand
B2B businesses typically fail to think about branding in the larger context of how it builds thought leadership, establishes credibility, raises awareness, and organically drives sales and new business growth.
Your business may be innovative, but your content doesn’t scream it. Content is undervalued because it’s underutilized in the sense of it being the driver to building brand, accelerating your pipeline, etc.