While sitting in the passenger seat on the Princes Highway travelling from Melbourne to Geelong for the school holidays, the song Cool Change by Little River Band made its way through the car speakers. The simple visual metaphors implied in the lyrics got me thinking about my own cool branding years, the triggers that ignite the conversation to create change, and how branding for uplift is more accountable now than ever before.

Knowing when it’s time for a cool change

I’ve worked with 100s of marketers from multiple industries and if there’s something in a marketers life that’s often missing, it’s the time they have to spend thinking about brand alone. Most of them did ‘hope’ to dedicate more time to brand.

Acknowledging the need for a brand review that will ultimately lead to positive and increased engagement – can often be overlooked, parked and not fully invested in. And yet we see the wins of businesses such as Apple, Microsoft, Google and Samsung who have gained success with distinctive positioning and a bold, clear, and bright way forward – setting up their marketing and communications for success.

In essence, your brand should be effortlessly cool and own mental availability with current and potential customers.

“Mental availability is about getting a brand in the race to be chosen in buying situations, by building brand memory structures in the consumer’s mind. In the vast majority of buying situations, consumers want to finish as quickly as possible, and mental availability is about making your brand known and easily thought of in those situations”.

– Professor Jenni Romaniuk, Ehrenberg-Bass institute for Marketing Science

If a brand isn’t connecting effectively, it needs review. It’s important for marketers to identify when a B2B brand strategy needs a timely review, to plan ahead, and to carefully decide what should be front of mind in the long term. To do this you need support to plot, measure and prove brand effectiveness and brand health.

The change signs to look for:

  • More than 50% activation and 0% future customer brand building
  • The who, what, why isn’t clearly articulated
  • Slow growth, despite a strong economic climate
  • Tired brand identity, that no longer fits with business goals and objectives
  • Disruption in the marketplace or fresh competition
  • A reputation affected by media
  • Marketplace confusion – lacking distinction and clear positioning
  • Global trade uncertainty – supply and quality challenges
  • Considerable legacy focus on short term results, tactics vs. strategy
  • Mergers and acquisitions – a time of difficult decision making

Brand, it’s kind of a special feeling 

The brand that gets thought of in the B2B buying situation is the brand that gets bought most often. The big challenge is positioning the brand to be more prominently and positively considered than your direct competition. The sign of effective positioning is when your customers can consistently associate your business with emotional triggers, distinctive sounds and visual sensations that you direct them to think about when your company comes to mind.

But, my life is so prearranged …

For most B2B Marketers, allocating importance to brand messaging, refreshing creative and improving the digital customer experience is difficult to build into a seasonal marketing calendar, and yet it’s a pivotal area to get the organisation moving in the right direction and to maintain course as the annual marketing tactics unfold.

Improving brand engagement and joining the dots to be more front of mind with your audience in unique, distinctive and purposeful ways should be embedded in business. At Green Hat we work out where the pain points and opportunities are, we review what is missing, and together build a brand framework aiming to be more top of mind in a buying situation with the B2B audience. Dedicated platforms are also available to ‘test’ brand awareness and creativity, with options to track engagement & awareness over time.

Refreshing a brand and setting it up for smooth sailing to continually align with business direction can be a challenge for marketers.

“For the second year in a row growing and measuring brand awareness has been the No.1 challenge”

– Green Hat / AMI B2B Marketing Research Report 2021

I came out of my brand haze to hear Master 7 yrs in the back seat chiming “Shut up and take my money!”, “I don’t care, I love it!” There is certainly a growing body of evidence that suggests B2B can embody some B2C vibes in order to build brand salience!

And it’s here that you’ll feel your best

Presenting the opportunity to undertake brand improvement and evolution to an executive team can be harrowing, but it must be presented with absolute belief and prediction. You need to be able to deliver the metrics with the mind of a CFO and the goals of an entrepreneur. Talk so they sit up and listen. As a guide, CFOs think of future and current cash-flows – what it costs, what will be coming in in the future, they need to see numbers, goals and projections.

Another key to quality brand design and development is working with a team of experts who know how to structure and guide your branding journey.

There’s lots of friendly experts at Green Hat who will listen and show you the way to go

It’s important to seek an independent agency to guide the process and navigate the twists and turns a brand can take as it evolves and unfolds. At Green Hat we integrate brand strategy, customer experience and design to help businesses to grow and create meaning with customers. Brand jargon can be confusing for stakeholders, at Green Hat we make sense of brand and we help to join the dots across the components that matter:

  • Positioning
  • Messaging – story and customer value proposition
  • Architecture
  • Identity
  • Expression – a distinctive messaging and a strong visual code
  • Short term and long term – define the rational and the emotional triggers
  • Names and Taglines
  • Brand Management
  • Creative communication

You’ll know when it’s time …

There are many reasons a brand can become unwieldy and disconnected from customers. A brand framework is a great way to identify areas for change or refreshing and ensure you remain on course to get the brand thinking time you need to support and improve your marketing outcomes.

Not sure where to begin? To help you think about the key areas for B2B brand strengthening and to embrace change – take the Green Hat brand survey to receive a report on where you’re at on your brand journey.

Blog Inspired by, Little River Band, Cool Change. Glenn Barrie Shorrock 

B2B Branding – knowing when it’s time for a change

Rochelle Sanko
Rochelle is one of Green Hat’s resident brand experts. She brings two decades of industry experience in brand strategy, identity creation and identity systems management (internal and external), brand architecture and brand evolution. Rochelle has led creative studios in Australia and New Zealand and assisted a diverse range of businesses to communicate their brands effectively across the entire customer journey.