I’ve created 100+ global B2B brands. These 6 insights are invalu­able.

October 30, 2023

By Jan Ragnartz

Jan's experience includes the creation of hundreds of B2B brands and brand concepts. He combines his award-winning design skills with his talent at finding winning creative concepts. Jan brings a global eye to every project and is fluent in English, French, German and Swedish.

Key Takeaways

  • Your brand is a language, not a logo.
  • People like likeable brands.
  • Use every tool available to express your unique­ness.
  • Sustain your brand over time.
  • Global brands have to think dif­fer­ent­ly.
B2B Brands

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Some of the most important steps in the brand creation process can be over­looked while getting a new brand up and running. Keeping these 6 insights for B2B brands in mind can make a big dif­fer­ence in your brand’s lifetime effec­tive­ness.

1. Your logo is not your brand

When you create a brand, you’re creating a language with its own vocab­u­lary and rules of use. When done well, this language gives you the ability to express anything your brand needs to say to the markets it serves, with a distinct per­son­al­i­ty and voice. Like any living language, the brand should be able to grow and evolve over time while still main­tain­ing its core identity. Your logo does just some of the work. For the rest, you need to be backed by a strong brand system capable of com­mu­ni­cat­ing your values, mission, vision, aspi­ra­tions and unique­ness .

2. Give people reasons to love your brand

Brands need to be inter­est­ing, intrigu­ing, aspi­ra­tional and likeable. With the long buying cycles asso­ci­at­ed with B2B, customers aren’t buying your product, they’re buying your company brand. Make your brand likeable. Maintain a human tone, avoid clichés and jargon, and stay grounded in your customers’ reality, which includes both rational and emotional dimen­sions. Always surprise them by how well you under­stand their chal­lenges.

3. Use every tool available to express your unique­ness

Digital tech­nolo­gies and stock images have made it easier than ever to create pro­fes­sion­al-looking com­mu­ni­ca­tions quickly. Unfortunately, template-driven, cookie cutter approach­es lead to brands looking the same. Typography, color palette, photo or illus­tra­tion style, layout style: brands need to use all these tools with vir­tu­os­i­ty in order to establish their unique­ness. For example, imagine the huge boost your brand could get by shooting original pho­tog­ra­phy for an ownable look that belongs to your brand and your brand only.

4. Get the right people on board from the start

You can’t create and launch a new brand on your own. It requires buy-in from top man­age­ment andthe involve­ment of key stake­hold­ers, including regional stake­hold­ers, all along the brand devel­op­ment process. These people need to know that their input has helped shape the brand, and their enthu­si­asm will be essential in the brand’s suc­cess­ful deploy­ment.

5. Plan for brand con­sis­ten­cy

No one wants to be a brand policeman. A lot of brand con­sis­ten­cy issues that arise when deploying a brand can be avoided by taking the right steps prior to launch. Having visible support of the brand from top man­age­ment, com­mu­ni­cat­ing the brand’s purpose inter­nal­ly, creating an internal launch event and other similar actions can go a long way. A brand book that gives an overview of the brand’s mission, messages, spirit, look and feel, and specific appli­ca­tions provide global staff with a concrete notion of the brand in action.  

Along with brand guide­lines, CONTENTI provides a kit con­tain­ing all brand assets required for local deploy­ment, including elec­tron­ic artwork. This prevents anyone from having to reinvent the wheel. The main takeaway is, the more things are clear up front, the fewer problems you’ll have to handle once the brand is up and running. 

6. Working on a global scale requires thinking dif­fer­ent­ly

Creating B2B brand campaigns that are effective across different regions and languages is a unique challenge. A lot of the tricks that local creatives depend on aren’t applic­a­ble at the global level, where wordplay, narrow cultural ref­er­ences and purely local trends are off limits. At the same time, you owe it to every one of your markets to deliver impactful and effective concepts. These are con­straints that you learn to work with. Having grown up in a number of different countries and being fluent in four languages makes me sensitive to different regional styles and view­points. I know pretty much right away if an idea can be expressed with impact across cultural and lin­guis­tic barriers. Eliminating false ‘good ideas’ early on saves everyone a lot of time!

“Brands need to be inter­est­ing, intrigu­ing, aspi­ra­tional and likeable…”


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