Emerging from Covid: Does your brand still fit?

Emerging from Covid: Does your brand still fit?

As the dust is beginning to settle on the ‘new normal’, many B2B businesses are emerging with an evolved model to what they entered the pandemic with.

Strategic changes made to adapt to market needs mean that now business offerings are somewhat misaligned with the brand messaging and identity.

How have B2B companies changed?  

1. New strategic offering 

It’ll be no surprise that B2B buyers became increasingly cautious during Covid. Which has resulted in extended buyer journeys, increased buyer inertia and higher expectations on value.

This, and likely the move to complete remote sales, led many companies to adapt their sales approach, and teams. Specifically looking for ‘people who are more strategic and insight led – rather than those that rely on charm and a company credit card’ HBR 

This approach was also applied to product offerings, with companies expanding existing solutions to include new ‘consultative knowledge and resources designed to help customers succeed during the pandemic.’ (Edelman) 

2. Increased product investment 

Covid catapulted product led companies to the forefront of investments  ‘PE dealmaking in B2B products actually rose 20% in 2020’ Insight 2 Proft and we’re now seeing waves of these companies ready to disrupt markets with high growth KPIs.

And on the other side of this fence are the established brands, who now have a new, aggressive competitive landscape to deal with. 

We’ve seen this product investment also within organizations, who have taken this as an opportunity to evolve or pivot existing product capabilities in a response to the overnight change in market needs.

3. Expanding Digital experience

From Discovery, sales, onboarding through to customer service, everything had to move online. And with 70-80% of B2B decision makers preferring remote human interactions, or digital self service, it seems set to stay that way. (Mckinsey)

Infact, McKinsey predicts that B2B leaders that continue to commit to digitizing their go-to-market models will see the return in the form of increased customers and retention, than their slower moving competitors. Mckinsey

4. Marketing seen as a leader for growth and digital transformation 

This isn’t a change in the business offering, but a change in how the broader business understands the role and contribution that marketing can make.

From an overnight shift to 100% digital, to an increased uncertainty in markets and individual buyers, the customer needs and experience became the number one topic of conversation for the C-suite. We saw marketing ‘elevated within the C-suite as a driver of digital transformation, a key leader of the customer journey and the voice of the consumer’ HBR

There’s certainly greater expectation, but this is an exciting time for marketing. Harvard Business Review sees this as marketing’s  ‘opportunity to seize an ongoing central role in that dialogue, thereby driving the organization’s broader growth and innovation agenda.HBR

The impact on brand  

These changes may seem like evolutions on a roadmap, but they are important pieces to building a user experience centric, consultative, best in class solution. 

Which is great, but only if your audience know about it. 

And with B2B buyers searching anonymously online for up to 6 months (Vital stats, Earnezt), you need this message to be central and clear across your digital touchpoints, or you will likely never get the opportunity to correct misperceptions. 

Identifying the disconnect 

If you recognize these changes within your business, or you’ve experienced others, it’s important to strength test your brand to see if and where the disconnect between your current offering and current identity is. 

Ask yourself these questions; 

  1. What do you currently say about yourself? 
    How are you describing your business and solution across core prospects, and customer touchpoints? (Website,sales presentation etc.) How do you describe the problem you solve? 
  1. How does the market view you?
    Research the industry, review the latest analyst reports and look at what others say about you. 
  1. What do you currently offer?
    What is your core product/ solution, what problem do you solve, and for whom? How do you make people feel? 

If your answers are not similar across all three questions, you likely need a brand re-boot. And you now have the first inputs to your brief. 

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(Photo by Ryan Wallace via Unsplash)

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Sarah Przybylak

Client Lead at Earnezt