Branding is important, whatever size company you are, but with the huge swing to online marketing over the past few years, many B2B companies have struggled with the implications for the branding side of their promotional activities. For many, the easy answer has been to use email and the web for response marketing, and traditional media for the branding side of things. But it’s not really a satisfactory approach, because the reasons which have made magazines, exhibitions and direct mail less effective for response do rather apply to branding too. If that colour page in a magazine is going to establish your company as a major player in the minds of your prospects, it requires your prospects to be reading the magazine. Maybe they do. But I humbly submit, m’lud, that if they were, you’d still get great response from your product advertising.
I think what’s really happened is that marketing managers have said: “We can measure response advertising, and it appears that online advertising gets more cost-effective results, so we’ll move our response advertising there. But we can’t really measure branding campaigns, so, er, let’s put them where response can’t be measured.”
Is there any alternative? Can you run an effective branding operation online? 5 Tips for Better B2B Branding on the Online Marketing Blog doesn’t seem to have any doubts. It suggests that nowadays, B2B branding is about thought leadership, or positioning your company as the one which really understands its business. And this can be done online better than anywhere, because demonstrating thought leadership needs great content, and online, you’re not restricted in how much you can publish.