Experiential Branding Elevates B2B Brand Success!
- Unlike experiential marketing, where a customer connects to a product, experiential branding focuses on the experience the customer is looking for — how your product or service makes them feel.
- Positioning your brand for the long term means providing a consistent, experiential message that guides your branding efforts so the customer trusts that you deliver on your promises in a distinctive, relevant way.
- In today’s highly competitive B2B marketplace, experiential branding can achieve long-term success by embracing the totality of what draws the customer.
When you hear the term “ultimate driving experience,” there’s a good chance that you think of BMW. You might even think of a gorgeous, sleek new BMW gliding smoothly along a pristine blacktop with rolling hills and a glittering sunset in the background.
Or, when you think of Apple, you may visualize a slickly produced video of their latest product or remember your last trip to the genius bar.
That’s experiential branding!
Why Experiential Branding is Important for B2B Companies
A B2B brand strategy that brings a company’s experiential essence to their brand with every marketing communication can also create more loyalty, get more leads, and build their profit base.
Different than experiential marketing, where the goal is to create a memorable real-life marketing experience that a customer connects to a product (think of the energy drink truck outside events handing out samples), experiential branding focuses on the experience the customer is looking for — how your product or service makes them feel. B2B experiential branding focuses on a consistent, impactful brand emphasis with every interaction you have with your customers, prospects, stakeholders, and employees.
Experiential branding builds equity through brand perception — consider these four components when developing your strategy:
- Relevance — How does your brand fit into an optimal customer experience. Does it add value? Provide a service? Is it scalable in the prevailing situation?
- Admiration — Does your branding enhance the perceived esteem of the customer? In business, that could mean building your customer’s esteem when they use your product or enhancing their standing with the desired consumer segment.
- Distinctiveness — By positioning your product as exclusive, you create a differentiation with competitors that is attractive to your B2B customers.
- Enrichment — Do your customers perceive your company as providing a robust value, extreme quality, and a timeless presence that they can vicariously communicate to their customers?
Often experiential branding is ignored in B2B marketing, leaving consumers in the more traditional B2C environment. However, in today’s highly competitive B2B marketplace, where a product’s attributes may not be enough to differentiate it from the field, experiential branding can achieve long-term success by embracing the totality of what draws the customer.
Four Key Experiential Branding Strategies
Positioning your brand for the long term needs an “all hands on deck” approach. A consistent message guides your branding efforts, and the customer (or potential customer) trusts that your organization delivers what they promise.
Key to achieving that is looking at a holistic approach that rallies forces both internal to your organization and across your digital footprint. From stakeholders and employees to your social media presence, you want a cohesive, positive, and inspiring message. Think of it this way, if you have developed or created an all-inclusive brand persona that transcends any one single marketing effort, you’re perfectly positioned to strategize an experiential branding effort.
1. The Best Brand Ambassadors — Employees
Given a chance, your employees want to believe in the company they work for and are willing to communicate that in their actions daily. Consistent messaging about the company’s culture, vision, and goals will go a long way in creating an inclusive employee community.
Remember to engage employees and communicate to them the vital role they play as experiential brand ambassadors. Be sure someone from leadership asks for their outward-facing support within their B2B community. There may be an opportunity to reward employees who act as brand influencers to their prospective social media circles if it works with the B2B goals of the organization.
Often, companies think they have involved their employees, but they haven’t communicated exactly what leadership expected or how significant their involvement is for a fully realized B2B experiential brand. As you evaluate your experiential branding strategy, it may be a great time to review your internal communication process to ensure a clear ‘ask’ from leadership to employees about positive client-facing communication and company presentation.
2. Meet and Educate Your Customers Where They Are Engaged
By being vigilant about how and where your customers experience your product or service, you can build an effective marketing presence for the long term.
Meet your customers where they like to gather. Find common channels through thought leadership opportunities or social media venues where you can develop an engaging presence that honors your overall product experience. Remember, this is about identifying your customers’ wants and delivering on those.
Also, don’t be shy about asking your customers for their positive feedback that can then be shared through case studies or testimonials. That gives other existing customers or new potential customers a results-oriented look from another business utilizing your product or service. When communicated from an experiential perspective, this technique checks all the boxes in terms of engaging customers.
3. Build the Whole Customer Journey
Bring your customers along the entire product journey with you. From engaging with your sales team to receiving support from technical employees to visiting your customer support venue, customers should feel a seamless journey anchored in your experiential brand.
One way to accelerate this is to elevate your marketing team as brand ambassadors within your organization. Who better to communicate the brand strategy system-wide and support all levels of the organization in a cohesive message? Whether this team is internal or an external group of experts, they are well-positioned to carry the message to your whole organization.
4. Use Your Digital Media Platform to Empower Your Customers
Promote an ongoing relationship between your organization and its customers (and potential customers) through an intuitive and interactive digital platform. With solid website design and development, your B2B website provides a link to customers that carries your seamless message and visually displays your products, as well as your values and culture.
That message should be clearly communicated, accurate, and updated continuously. It should also guide or link you to the social avenues where your customers can find your content (think LinkedIn.com or Medium.com).
Brand Positioning is a Dynamic and Fluid Process
If the events brought about by COVID-19 have taught us anything, businesses are shifting, and the need for experiential branding is accelerating. Companies want to find B2B relationships that they can rely on long term, but as the market continues to move at hyper-speed, which isn’t always possible.
Today, success increases when your organization can create an experiential brand that brings relevance to the marketplace and engages customers for the long term. Here are three questions to ask yourself about your B2B brand strategy.
Is Your Brand Unique?
Is your brand meaningful, identifiable, and built for the long term? Does it differentiate you from your competitors? You want to own your space, but have you asked your customers or employees if their experience matches your intent?
Are You Positioning to Compete?
Take an honest look at how your company is positioned to compete in this accelerated environment.
You met your customers’ expectations pre-pandemic, but are you positioning based on their new reality? Do you know where your current and emerging competitors are coming from and how they are positioning to meet their customers’ needs?
Is Your Brand Future-Focused?
Maximizing your brand’s future relevance is crucial today and provides a powerful tool in the future. When analyzing performance, future strategies should reflect where you will be in five to 10 years while factoring in all the unknowns we face moving ahead (including fast-changing technology and continually shifting business and consumer trends).
Branding is not immediate — it’s a process! Now is the time to shift your current branding strategy to be more inclusive of a B2B experiential flow. While this will take a concerted effort, it is well worth the effort in today’s business environment and will pay off in bottom-line rewards.
If your organization is looking for a leap forward in experiential branding or you are new to developing a strategy that puts your product or service in an experiential light with customers, give us a call at Lounge Lizard Worldwide.
We are a premier marketing, branding, and website development company intimately familiar with B2B experiential branding, and we can exceed your marketing expectations. Lounge Lizard has a full end-to-end suite of services that includes top-tier designers and social media experts who are well-versed in today’s trends.
Contact us today to learn more about experiential branding and proven, successful ways to engage your team.