How to create personas for B2B companies

If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.

Zig Ziglar

A massive 72% of B2B buyers expect personalized engagement from vendors, tailored to their needs – this, according to research by US software giant, Salesforce, titled State of the Connected Customer. Even more interesting, or perhaps unsettling for business owners, is how 76% of the customers surveyed, feel it’s never been easier to take their business elsewhere, thanks to technology.

In today’s fast-paced digital era, the old saying; time is money has never rung truer. The average B2B buyer has no time for the one-size-fits-all sales pitches of the pre-technology days, or to sift through a minefield of information to find what they need.

Today’s buyer wants customized solutions and expects you to understand and meet his needs.

So, how do you “get into” your clients’ minds to understand their needs? The simplest way is to create buyer personas, or archetypes, in layman’s terms.

Personas are detailed profiles of your ideal clients, based on your team’s combined research, and data: Designed to help you understand their needs to tailor your solutions accordingly.

Now, there are no shortcuts to creating high-value personas, but a carefully crafted profile can be invaluable to your marketing strategy. Done right, it could increase your conversions by 73%, according to Aberdeen research. To do so, you need to consider these factors:

1. Buyer demographics

First and foremost, you need a proper understanding of your buyers’ background. This includes:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Education
  • Income
  • Geographical location
  • Interest
  • Job title and role
  • Career goals
  • Job-related challenges
  • Challenges and,
  • Necessity points

2. Their company’s DNA and what drives them

Dealing with B2B buyers often means you’re dealing with multiple decision-makers. To understand what drives your buyers, it’s imperative to have a detailed understanding of their firms, as well as the industries in which they operate.

You need to learn about:

  • Their company sizes
  • Culture
  • The average day of a typical employee
  • Reporting structure
  • Relevant decision-makers

Equally important, you need to find out about the industries the companies clients belong to, and what products or services your buyer’s firm provides for them. Bear in mind when dealing with multiple decision-makers, you’ll need to create multiple personas to help give you a better understanding of the personality traits involved.

3. Influences

These include questions about how your buyers absorb information, their preferred platforms, and sources of information. To do this, you’ll have to consider the social media platforms they use and other networks they’re on, popular keywords and language used your buyers’ circles as well as the type of publications they’re interested in. Simply put, if your buyers are all on LinkedIn, there’s no use trying to engage them on Facebook. You need to go where they are.

4. Challenges and deal breakers

Lastly, you need to learn about your buyer’s challenges, as well as those faced by his organization. The more you know about these, allows you to optimize your messages for maximum conversion.

Is your business using social media’s full potential?

At Brieffin we use our expertise to unlock everything social media has to offer your business or personal brand. We use our experience in content creation, strategy and planning, and social media management to help build consistency and deliver marketing success. Let’s talk.

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Visual Branding: Why You Need It.

If you don’t give the market the story to talk about, they’ll define your brand’s story for you.”

David Brier

The next time you’re on social media take note of how quick you are to scroll past anything that doesn’t immediately grab your attention.

Within a few seconds, a (potentially interesting or valuable) post can disappear into an endless social media stream of information, never to be seen again. With the exception of blogs, articles, and some other content types, posts shared on social media have a short-lived lifespan.

So, how then do you get people to stop, read, and engage with the content you painstakingly put out there to entice and educate your audience?

In order to take advantage of the milliseconds, it takes a person to process your post and decide whether to pause or not has everything to do with your ‘Visual Branding’.

Good visual marketing grabs attention.

Visual Branding is the introduction your business makes when meeting customers, it’s the first thing they see and evaluate your brand. This visual identity is what conveys your brand’s voice, values, and personality.

Creating visual content that appeals and influences how an audience reacts, is down to a mixture of different elements, that when blended together create your unique visual identity and brand experience.

Each and every brand has its own story, regardless of industry or niche. Sharing your brand’s history, experiences, mission, and even the voices of the people who work there create a story that helps people connect and understand your brand. Creating visual content to support your story makes it easier and more appealing to viewers.

Creating consistent visuals (using fonts, colors, materials) with a unified look, and feel across your online content, helps in building consistency, differentiates you from your competitors and aids in strengthening your reputation.

The tone of voice which you communicate through social media (and off it) is extremely important, as it helps define your personality and gives your brand a human side. Defining your tone can help you come across as fun, smart, vibrant, and empathetic.

But possibly the most important aspect of visual branding is having a clear and aligned message across all platforms. This helps people interpret your message as you intended it and makes your brand feel more dependable, recognizable, and professional.

When we design content that combines tone, look and feel, and an aligned message – we help develop experiences that shape the way customers think and interact with a brand.

Is your business using social media’s full potential? At Brieffin we use our expertise to unlock everything social media has to offer your business or personal brand. We use our experience in content creation, strategy and planning, and social media management to help build consistency and deliver marketing success.

Let’s talk!

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Brand vs. Identity: What’s the Difference?

Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.

Jeff Bezos

Just as there are so many marketing “buzzwords” floating around when it comes to content – like campaigns, social media, and SEO – there are more when it comes to the essence of your business.

Brand and identity are two words that often seem to be used interchangeably. However, we’ll discuss some key differences between the two that indicate the different purposes they serve.

Brand

Brand is sometimes a “catch-all” term that is used in many different ways. When you think of your favorite logos, you might identify those as brands. But brands are actually much more intangible. A brand is the emotional relationship between a business and its consumers.

In a saturated marketplace, consumers are looking for a reason to connect with one company/product over another – and that’s where the company’s challenge is to set itself apart. One way this frequently happens through a strongly-developed story that resonates with its consumers, thus establishing a unique position in the market.

All of this together creates the essence of a “brand.” Take a look at our highlighted quote above by Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos. A brand is not what you say about yourself – a brand is what your customers say about you.

Now, let’s look at how this compares to identity.

Identity

Identity is also a word that is sometimes used in a variety of ways. But just like brand, it has a specific way it should be applied when discussing a marketing strategy.

Remember what we said about brands – they’re intangible. And here we have the first key difference between brand and identity. Identity is tangible. Identity is something you can see, touch, or hear. Whereas a brand is something you feel.

Since your brand is what others say about you, your identity is everything you do to influence those perceptions. In reality, much of this comes down to design. From colors, fonts, logo, graphics, video, product packaging, web design and more, these are all aspects of identity.

When you take all these distinct elements and create a unifying, coherent image across all fronts, that’s identity. And the identity is used to tell your story – to create that emotional resonance with your consumers.

Brand + Identity

As you can see, brand and identity are two separate but equally important components of any company’s image. Together, they make up a consistent voice that compels consumers to feel connected – through both the tangible and intangible aspects.

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Social Media Marketing And Industrial Brands

No niche is too small if it’s yours.

Seth Godin

Industrial engineering brands might be the last type of brand you’d expect to have a social media presence. For a long time, that was true. But back in 2012, we entered the social media space for our first industrial client, and we haven’t looked back since.

In the beginning, it certainly wasn’t easy. With the continually shifting technological landscape, it seemed like a new social media platform was popping up every month. After getting a handle on those, the next step was deciding WHAT to share. Our clients already had plenty of interesting and informative content available on their websites: photos, technical brochures, presentations, videos, news, press releases, career opportunities, and more.

Little by little, with trial and error came experience. Seven years later, we’ve become more confident in our digital marketing and online branding strategies for our clients. But social media has never stopped changing, and it probably never will. We’re ready to keep learning, keep evolving, and keep tackling the challenges that come our way.

When considering social media for industrial brands, keep the following topics in mind.

Different platforms, different strategies

On social platforms like Facebook and Instagram, it’s all about visuals. With Facebook, we also focus on the stories, trivia, and human-interest aspect of our brands. We want our community members to be involved in the experience. Twitter, on the other hand, is where we really focus on sharing technical information. We can connect with other companies in the industry and answer questions from our customers. For this reason, we often focus on Twitter with a high level of communication every day. We’ve also got touchpoints on other platforms such as YouTube and SlideShare, where our clients can share very technical information for engineers or clients of their own.

Magnifying reach

An important aspect of any type of marketing campaign is identifying the target audience and the message. After that, we can focus on actually reaching that audience. Social media is one of the best ways to broadcast a message directly to a selected audience – and much of the time, it’s completely free! On top of that, it’s easy to track and quantify the metrics of how well a certain post or campaign is performing. With access to this data, marketers and brands can receive valuable insight to audience attitudes, feelings, and behaviors. From there, messages can be reinforced or re-adjusted.

Enhancing relationships

Connection is an essential part of the human experience. That doesn’t change just because we start talking about a relationship involving a brand. With social media, the brand is able to change from an “it” to an “us” – which includes the people who make the brand, as well as the people who engage with it.  Not only that, brands have a way to listen to and learn from their customers in real time. It’s an opportunity that shouldn’t be ignored. Brands can offer better and enhanced user experiences from their products and services, thanks to the live feedback from the target audience.

Exchanging knowledge

What better way to stay on top of market trends than being a part of the conversation? By following and engaging with others in the same industry, brands on social media can get front-row access to what’s happening elsewhere. It’s a great way to keep on top of industry trends. Not only that, but there can be a high-quality information exchange with consumers. We mentioned before that we often share very technical content with our followers on platforms such as Twitter. When they ask us a question, we as the social media managers may not necessarily be able to answer right away – we need to call in an expert. But once that expert does respond with the answer, the customer walks away with new industry knowledge and (hopefully) a reinforced positive image of the brand.

Social media marketing – no matter the industry – is so much more than just spamming your followers with links and endless self-promotion. It should be a conversation, carefully thought-out; an investment of time and effort.

Whether you’re a beginner looking for a place to start, or just looking for a more hands-on approach to your digital marketing strategy, we can help. We offer coaching and consulting services, to exchange our own knowledge with others and build a stronger community of social media marketers.

Let’s find your communication destiny – together.

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Falling in Love with Brand Awareness

Awareness is like the sun. When it shines on things, they are transformed.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Brand awareness is sometimes seen as a marketing buzzword in the world of strategic communication. But what does it really mean?

Put simply, it’s the a measurement of consumer consciousness or recognition of a product or company. Within that, there are multiple levels to brand awareness. First, is the product or company recognized by its name? If not, it’s lacking brand awareness. If so, it’s a step in the right direction. The next question: what qualities or characteristics are being associated with the brand? What are the defining aspects that are easy for consumers to recall?

In some historical cases, the level of brand awareness has been so strong that the brand name of a certain product has replaced the generic term.

“Can you pass me a Kleenex?”

“Why do you have a Band-Aid on your finger?”

“I can’t find my Chapstick.”

Despite being part of our everyday language, Kleenex, Band-Aid, and Chapstick are actually just industry-leading brand names for generic products – facial tissues, adhesive bandages, and lip balm, respectively. Generally, these “generic trademarks,” as they are called, actually go against the trademark holder’s intentions, though it represents market dominance or monopoly.

Okay, so these are extreme cases. Brand awareness doesn’t always have to – and rarely does – go that far. Even if you aren’t aiming to be the next Velcro (which was also originally a brand name!), you should still strive for brand awareness – whether that’s business or personal.

When considering your brand awareness strategy, keep the following things in mind:

A differentiated message will help set your brand apart from its competitors. What about your brand is special? If your brand doesn’t have anything distinctive to offer, there’s no reason for your target audience to remember it. Find your niche and make your unique claim. This helps prevent market confusion when your customers know exactly what you alone can offer them.

When consumers know what you’re offering, they’re more likely to go straight to you for their product needs, rather than researching other brands. It’s like a shortcut through the decision-making process, which can sometimes be stressful. With a strong brand and clear and consistent message, you’ll become front-of-mind for consumers – that’s your number one goal.

Speaking of that clear and consistent message, your brand is your message. When your brand is sleek and coherent, it creates harmony. That harmony is appealing for consumers, and strong branding gives you credibility – before you’ve even said a word. For this reason, you’re more likely to be viewed as trustworthy by your target audience. And according to HubSpot: “In a world where consumers rely on extensive research and others’ opinions before making a simple purchase, brand trust is everything.”

Social media is one useful way to increase brand awareness, regardless of your industry. Whether you’re an industrial engineering brand like many of our clients, a small business owner, or anything in between, you can use social media as a tool to help create recognition.

We’ve previously posted here about the benefits of a strong social media presence. Not only is it something that virtually every brand can use, it also can help create a strong community. This community can become a base of your most devoted customers, who may be quite outspoken in their loyalty. After they’ve made that bond with your brand, they’re unlikely to waver from it. The consumer loyalty aspect is another key feature of a brand-awareness creation.

If you’re interested in developing a comprehensive brand awareness campaign, we at Brieffin are here to be your partners on that journey. We invite you to learn about our roadmap and philosophy for designing your unique strategy that gives your brand the WOW! effect you’re looking for.

“Awareness is like the sun. When it shines on things, they are transformed.” When your brand exists without awareness, it’s in the dark – unknown, unseen, unspecified. Bringing awareness is the special ingredient that transforms the anonymous into the familiar.

It’s time to fall in love with brand awareness.

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Industrial social media specialists of the year 2020 - Spain