How a Brand Slogan Drives Professional B2B Communications
- Camilla Tenn
- Communications Strategist
Often, B2B companies in Taiwan believe brand communications is just a fluffy, feel-good slogan that sits separately to all of the company’s other communications. This is not true. An effective brand slogan is the first step toward creating professional B2B communications that clearly and consistently presents the company to all major stakeholders, across all touchpoints.
First, an effective B2B brand slogan highlights the company’s differentiation or promise, with a message that is interesting and relevant to the target audience. Second, the slogan guides the direction or focus of all other communications. This doesn’t mean that every sentence has to include the slogan. Instead, the concept, or the “one big idea” within the slogan — the company’s main differentiation or promise — should influence all other communications too.
This way, the target audience gets the same impression of the company whether they’re reading the company’s LinkedIn posts, watching a product unboxing video, or attending a sales pitch. Wherever the company is communicating, the same high-level idea guides the impression being made. That idea might be “we’re a reliable partner,” or “our machines have the highest agility,” or “our materials improve our clients’ products.” Over time, repeating this one idea in different ways builds recognition and trust. This is the whole point of branding.
Of course, there is a lot of information that a company wants to communicate about itself. Not every single social media post or company announcement will directly link to the idea in the slogan. But there is always a way to frame information to align with that brand concept, or at least not undermine it.
Read on to see how this works across different areas of B2B communications.
By “brand communications” we refer specifically to introducing a company at a very high level. Aside from the slogan, this could include the brand introduction, social media bios, extended brand messages, and more.
If you look at any of the world’s best B2B brands, the way they introduce themselves across all touchpoints is clear and consistent. IBM, Intel, Cisco, they all use the idea within their brand slogans as the main angle for introducing themselves. For IBM it’s “Think,” meaning they’re leading thinkers on the forefront of technology. For Intel it’s “Do Something Wonderful,” to reflect how their chips are part of the most amazing technologies on Earth. For Cisco it’s “The Bridge to Possible,” to highlight how its communications technologies link clients to exciting new opportunities.
The goal is to make one, big, clear impression based on one, big, clear idea. The format of the communications isn’t the priority. Whether it’s a brand video or a powerpoint presentation, the most important part of brand communications is communicating that one big idea that differentiates the company, clearly and consistently.
Product and Solutions Communications
At this point most Taiwanese companies ignore their brand concept and dive into the specifications without a second thought. This is a missed opportunity to show the real value in the brand’s big idea, and to prove it’s not just a cheap tactic to get the audience’s attention.
Instead, there should be a seamless transition from brand communications into product and solutions communications. In professional B2B communications, the big idea in the brand slogan should frame the advantages of the offering. IBM’s, Intel’s, and Cisco’s slogans all guide the way those companies introduce their services, the way they describe the benefits and differentiation of their offerings.
Of course, data sheets will always have their uses. But first a company’s offering should be introduced in a way that is consistent with the overall brand positioning. This demonstrates that the brand’s big idea is a genuine differentiation or promise that has actual value for the intended audience, and is not just a flashy marketing tactic.
Ongoing Marketing Communications
Whether online or offline, ongoing marketing communications provide the best opportunity to really dig into a brand’s big idea.
Social media can be leveraged to tell stories that reinforce the brand concept. For example, Intel talks about the various “wonderful” things it is helping its clients achieve. Trade shows, exhibitions, and conferences, whether online or offline, offer excellent opportunities to showcase the company’s brand concept too. IBM’s annual Think events draw thousands of people to explore what’s new in information technology. And there are innumerable other opportunities and examples to consider too.
Here, a balance must be struck between sticking to the brand concept, and keeping things timely and relevant. The key is to resist jumping on any new ideas that seem fun or cool. Brands must be known for their one big idea, that differentiation or promise first communicated in the slogan. Too much information, too many ideas create confusion.
Remember, the target audience might only interact with a given B2B brand a few times every year, or less. So the audience doesn’t get bored of that one big idea. In fact, they appreciate that clarity and consistency that makes the company identifiable, memorable, and trustworthy.
B2B brands cannot just throw around a flashy slogan, then forget all about that big idea when it comes to other communications. Effective B2B communications must be cohesive, to reassure the target audience about the company’s professional focus, and clearly communicate its advantages.
In fact, it’s not even necessary to have a slogan. The brand’s one big idea could simply be a philosophy or mission. What’s important is ensuring that all communications consistently link back to one core concept that is relevant to the target audience. By maintaining that clarity and consistency, the target audience will remember, recognize, and in time trust the brand.
In 'Part 2: Case Study: Cisco as The Bridge to Possible', we will look at how this works in practice, by dissecting Cisco as a best-practice example.