The EMS sector is set to become a trillion-dollar global marketplace by 2030. But in this highly competitive space, companies who aren’t positioned to grow, risk getting lost in the mix. This blog post explores how B2B branding can operate as the ultimate launch pad for sustainable sales growth.
Why does an EMS provider need to build a brand?
B2C companies have long realised the power of brand when it comes to differentiating their offerings and connecting with customers in a crowded market. But few EMS providers ever consider how their ‘branding’ could be levered to actively drive loyalty and sales.
Yet, it's never been more important for EMS providers to differentiate themselves in the eyes of their customers:
“We are on the cusp of a real change in the way OEMs engage with their outsourcing partners. It’s no longer wise, or even safe, to throw a design over the wall to the cheapest supplier and hope for the best. A brand’s supply chain is now part of the brand itself. It is a reflection of their values, culture and goals. And if it fails, they fail.”
Philip Stoten, CEO, Scoop
Now, more than ever, OEMs need to see your company, not just as a supplier, but a partner whose performance, insight and innovation they can rely on. They need to see you as a brand with a mission and a set of values that aligns with their own.
So, how do you build the brand pillars that support growth?
The truth is, there’s no magic involved and you don’t need a Shoreditch hipster to tell you how to do it. But it does require thinking, focus and imagination if you’re going to see tangible sales results emerging from the work.
Here are 7 fundamental steps to help you define a winning market position and become the B2B brand that your ‘right fit’ customers will recognise and trust above all others.
What are the seven pillars of brand development?
1. Market Research and Sizing
Who do you need to reach?
Where do the revenue opportunities lie for a company with your specific capabilities and market access? You can’t define the brand message that will resonate with your ideal customers until you have worked out who they are! First of all, size the market, scope the competition, define buyer personas, and create a comprehensive market analysis to decide the place where your company will thrive in the future.
2. Value Proposition
What do you do for them that no one else can?
A clear value proposition defines what sets your brand apart from competitors and communicates the benefits customers will receive from using your brand's services. A strong value proposition defines your unique appeal in the marketplace - how you solve your customers’ most pressing pain points in the way no one else can. It is the fundamental reason you will attract new customers and retain existing ones.
The value proposition canvas (invented by Strategzer) is a simple but powerful tool to help with this process. It starts with mapping your services to the gains and pains that your customers are looking to win and avoid. You can read more about the value proposition canvas in our free brand positioning guide.
3. Brand Positioning
Where do you need to sit in the marketplace?
Brand positioning focuses on how a company should be seen in relation to its competitors to really cut through in the market. A brand positioning map can help you visualise your current market position and help you shift to a space where you can grow more successfully.
This is the clear ‘blue ocean’ where your message can’t be muddied by the competition and your value to your customers can be properly articulated.
4. Brand Identity
What image do you need to project?
With a unique brand position in mind, you now need to work on the visual elements that convey those differences. Your brand identity refers to your logo, colours, fonts, as well as the overall look and feel of all the corporate and marketing materials you produce across channels. A strong brand identity differentiates your brand from competitors and creates an instantly recognisable image in customers' minds.
5. Brand Messaging
What do you need to say to your target customer?
What do they need to hear? You need to define the tone, voice, and messaging your brand will use to communicate with customers so that you are consistent across your communications.
A clear brand voice helps convey your personality and unique positioning in the market. It enables you to build stronger customer relationships by embodying your brand values and benefits.
6. Brand Narrative
What’s the story you need to tell?
The storytelling aspect of a brand should not be overlooked. They might be procuring manufacturing services, but your customers are human too! Telling stories is the way humans connect and communicate important information to each other. So position your brand as a reliable guide – a trusted companion on their journey, and they’ll listen to you more carefully. Highlight the troubles they could face and demonstrate how you can lead them to a better place. Communicate your brand message more creatively, and you’ll be more successful in establishing an emotional connection with your audience. A compelling brand narrative helps establish brand awareness, engagement, and loyalty.
7. Customer Experience
How do you want your customers to feel about you?
A positive brand experience is essential for customer loyalty and retention. This includes all touchpoints and interactions that customers have with the brand, from initial contact to post-purchase support. A seamless and memorable experience can lead to repeat business and positive word-of-mouth marketing.
The pillars of a B2B brand strategy provide a strong foundation for all the marketing work that is to follow, ensuring that your brand identity, messaging, and strategy align with the needs and preferences of your target audience.
Why you need to develop your brand before your marketing campaigns
Developing your brand before your marketing strategy is essential because it’s the foundation for all the campaigns and marketing work that will follow.
Your brand represents your company's image, voice, personality, and customer's perception of you. A strong brand builds trust, loyalty, and recognition in the minds of your target audience. It sets the tone for all future marketing activities and helps establish your unique position in the market.
Your marketing strategy, on the other hand, is the tactical plan of how you will reach your target audience, communicate your message, and drive sales. It includes various marketing channels and tactics, such as content marketing, social media, email marketing, and more. However, your marketing efforts will likely be inconsistent, confusing, and ineffective if you do not have a clear brand identity, messaging, and value proposition.
By developing your B2B branding first, you can clearly understand your target audience, what they need, and how you can provide value to them. This will help you create a consistent and effective marketing plan well-aligned with your brand identity and messaging.
By building a strong brand foundation, you can create a long-term competitive advantage that helps you capture market share, increase customer loyalty, and grow your business.
A successful B2B marketing strategy requires a deep understanding of the buyer persona and the customer journey, which includes the touchpoints and interactions that lead to a positive customer journey. This can encompass a range of tactics, such as content marketing, inbound marketing, account-based marketing, and influencer marketing, all of which contribute to building brand awareness and reputation.
Why is your website so important to your brand?
Your website is "digital storefront" of your business and should reflect your brand's identity, messaging, and values.
Your website has the potential to create a lasting first impression on your audience and influence their perception of your brand. So, you need to spend time and energy crafting its look and feel.
A well-designed, user-friendly website consistent with your brand identity and messaging can increase audience engagement, trust, and credibility.
Optimised for search engines and incorporating SEO best practices it is the key to securing online visibility with the right people..
Building a library of valuable and informative content relevant to your target audience is the way to satisfy prospects and customers when they are there. This can establish your brand as a trusted authority in your industry, further enhancing its reputation. Done right, it can result in higher lead generation, conversion rates, and, ultimately, more sales.
Your website is a critical component of your brand's marketing mix. By ensuring that it presents a clear, consistent, and compelling representation of your brand to your audience, you can establish a strong digital presence that helps your business succeed in the online marketplace.
Don’t forget the socials
The role of social media platforms cannot be overlooked in modern B2B marketing, especially LinkedIn. With 900 million members in 200 countries it provides valuable opportunities to engage with potential buyers and speak to communities of loyal customers and engaged prospects.
An integrated B2B content marketing strategy is essential in establishing a brand voice that is heard across channels and platforms. It’s an opportunity to repurpose all the amazing content you produce and ensure it’s seen by your customers and prospects in the digital spaces where they spend the most time.
Social snippeting, marketing automation and Google Ads can all help streamline your marketing operations, increasing the visibility and effectiveness of campaigns.
Why your brand needs inbound and account-based marketing
The way your B2B brand speaks to prospects and customers can become much more focused and effective by using both inbound and account-based marketing (ABM) approaches.
Inbound marketing is a customer-centric approach to marketing that focuses on creating valuable and informative content to attract potential customers and keep them engaged throughout the buyer's journey. By providing targeted and relevant content that aligns with your target audience's interests, concerns, and questions, you can establish your brand as a trusted authority and build a relationship with potential customers.
Moreover, inbound marketing helps you generate leads by directing potential customers to your website, where they can learn more about your products or services and ultimately purchase. This approach can help you improve your search engine rankings, increase brand awareness, and foster brand loyalty.
On the other hand, account-based marketing is a strategic approach that focuses on identifying and targeting a select group of high-value accounts through personalized and customized marketing initiatives. By tailoring your marketing to each account's unique characteristics and needs, you can establish a deep and lasting relationship with key decision-makers and influencers and drive higher conversions and sales.
Used together, inbound and account-based marketing can create a powerful synergistic effect that helps you attract and engage potential customers while retaining and nurturing existing ones. Inbound marketing helps you to build brand awareness and drive traffic to your website. At the same time, account-based marketing allows you to craft targeted and customized messages for high-value customers and prospects.
By developing a comprehensive marketing strategy that incorporates both inbound and account-based marketing, you can create a holistic approach that helps you achieve your business goals and stay ahead of your competition in the crowded B2B marketplace.
Align marketing, sales and services to remove data silos
Aligning marketing, sales and customer service teams - as well as integrating your ERP and CRM systems are increasingly important in modern brand management. The success of a brand hinges on the ability of all your teams to work together seamlessly in order to improve the customer's experience, which, in turn, will help grow the business.
Marketing and sales teams should work closely together to ensure that the brand messaging is consistent and that the leads generated by marketing efforts are properly qualified and acted upon by the sales team. By collaborating, marketing and sales teams can better understand and respond to the needs of potential and existing customers and work together to provide a better overall experience.
Alongside this, integrating the ERP and CRM systems removes data silos between different teams and processes, providing a holistic view of the customer and allowing for more effective decision-making. By sharing customer data between departments, businesses can gain valuable insights and ensure everyone is working with the same information.
This can help sales teams be more responsive to customer needs and concerns, while customer services can proactively address recurring issues and build stronger relationships. Additionally, it allows the marketing team to understand the customer better, enabling them to create more targeted and effective campaigns.
Ultimately, by aligning marketing, sales, and customer service teams and integrating the company's systems, businesses can enhance the customer's experience, improve internal communication, and streamline operations. By taking these steps, B2B brands can position themselves as leaders in their respective industries and ultimately drive growth and profitability.
Why is revenue operations the ultimate goal for a successful EMS brand?
Revenue operations (RevOps) is the ultimate goal for an optimized brand because it is a comprehensive and strategic approach to aligning and optimizing all of the revenue-generating functions of a business. This includes the marketing, sales, and customer service teams and the IT, finance, and operations teams.
The main goal of RevOps is to improve the customer's experience and drive business growth while streamlining internal processes and increasing operational efficiency. By breaking down traditional departmental silos, RevOps allows businesses to operate with a more holistic, customer-centric approach that can lead to higher revenue and profitability.
By aligning these functions, businesses can create a seamless customer journey, from initial engagement to post-purchase support, ensuring customers have a consistently positive experience. This helps build brand loyalty and advocacy, increasing customer retention and lowering customer churn rates.
Moreover, using data and analytics to gain insights into the customer journey, RevOps allows businesses to optimize their marketing, sales, and customer service efforts in real-time, resulting in higher conversion rates and enhanced operational efficiency.
By adopting a RevOps approach, businesses can streamline their operations, break down internal silos, and invest in the customer experience. This can lead to higher revenue and profitability, positioning the brand for continued growth and success.
Ultimately, the goal of a B2B marketer is to retain and grow the customer base, which requires a commitment to customer retention and loyalty, as well as ongoing efforts to attract new buyers. By focusing on a strong brand, marketers can create a roadmap for success and ensure that their marketing and B2B content strategy is aligned with the needs and goals of both the brand and its customers.