When we think of culture branding, it’s typically in reference to consumer brands such as Nike and Starbucks. These companies don’t just represent a product or a service. They represent a lifestyle that is culturally relevant to their respective audiences.
Here’s the good news: B2Bs can also appeal to our emotional curiosities and culturally relevant trends. This is so important today because SaaS companies have depended on efficiency messaging to differentiate their services, a tactic that can’t stand alone in the 2020s because it is a basic expectation of software companies to deliver better, cheaper and faster. But, with a few culture branding techniques, companies can rise above the competition, solidifying a coveted spot in the hearts and minds of B2B buyers.
Put People At The Center
Every year, technology becomes more ubiquitous. And, no matter the segment, there are often five, 10, 20 or more competitors who can (or try to) copy innovations that your company brings to the market.
To make a lasting impact, B2B brands can adjust the spotlight away from the technology, and illuminate the people behind it to break through the noise. After all, the technology wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the people who built it or use it every day. Here are five strategies to consider.
1. Be Authentic
Speaking and engaging authentically with your audience is often overlooked. You achieve brand authenticity when your brand is true to its core beliefs – and true to what your audience is saying or thinking about every single day.
Authentic brands, like G2, communicate with customers openly and honestly, sharing both wins and losses.
They also address customer concerns with care and compassion👇
please email email@example.com with the email address that you used to leave your review. We will look to resolve. Thanks!
— G2 (@G2dotcom) October 8, 2019
Moving closer to authenticity means ditching industry jargon and buzzwords and speaking directly to your audience in the same tone you’d talk to a friend.
2. Be Personable
Getting to know your audience on a personal level is critical to executing this strategy effectively. And that doesn’t just mean knowing your customers’ demographics and buying behaviors. It’s about knowing what your audience cares about, what keeps them up at night, and why they connect with your brand. Sigstr is a brand that goes above and beyond in this area. And they’re not afraid to have some fun along the way 👇
New stickers (and possible cease and desist) coming!
“Did we just become friends?" pic.twitter.com/8yVkAEEBJU
— Sigstr (@sigstr) September 12, 2019
3. Open Up
Real photos of real people will resonate with buyers more than stock images. It only takes a few minutes a day to pull out your phone, snap a pic of someone doing amazing work and post it to your social media channels. Not only photos of your exec team, but of all people at work, having fun and expressing something about themselves.
At Smartling, we sent a photographer on a trip around the world to cities like Berlin, Germany, Istanbul, Turkey and Mie-gun, Japan to capture the personal and professional lives of our translators.
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As part of our #movetheworldwithwords campaign, we’re creating a photo series about some of our incredible translators all over the world, and our first profile is on Daniel, who lives in a remote village in Asturias, Spain. From visiting the local market to getting a crash course in translation technology, photographer and writer @elisabethontheroad followed Daniel around for 48 hours to get a peek at his daily life. While things move a little bit slower in the countryside (depending on the season, anywhere from 15-50 people live in Daniel’s village), he is able to connect people all over the world right from the loft of his rustic cottage, thanks in part to the platform Smartling has developed. “The visual context is super helpful,” Daniel says, pointing to one customer’s web navigation menu, which is previewed in the Smartling window on his computer. “Without context, words can have different meanings and therefore be translated differently.” Click the link in our bio to read Daniel’s full story — and check out our Instagram stories to see more!
The campaign, “Move the World with Words“, highlights their unique stories along with the important work translators do. The resulting images were so moving, we worked them into a coffee table book for the world to see.
4. Beyond Personas
The traditional concept of persona-based marketing is aging quickly. People buy on their own terms. They don’t need to be forced down a path, they should instead be invited to discover, like the way customers can create free Zoom accounts 👇
It’s easier to build a user experience on a website today that engages people with different content that is relevant to that specific individual based on behavior, whereas before companies were more limited with how they could engage users online.
Figuring out how to engage people is the fun part. Have one-on-one conversations with customers. Engage your employees. Ask questions like, “how do you describe what you do to your family?” Uncover pain points, and as mentioned above what keeps them up at night.
5. Commit To Customers
With so many customer touchpoints today, it’s vital for brands to create a seamless experience across platforms, including online, via phone, social media, in-app, and more. Then, you also have to ensure a consistent customer experience throughout every department of your organization, including product development, sales, marketing, and customer support. Adding a people-centered touch is as easy as putting a spotlight on your employees in each of the departments within your company that help create a great experience for your audience each day. Lessonly is a great example of this 👇
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What better way to end a great quarter and even better fiscal year than with a new #mvply?! 🎉 Join me in celebrating @mikylahouston! She hit quota EVERY 👏 SINGLE 👏 QUARTER 👏 this year, so long story short, Houston, we do NOT have a problem. 💛 Mikyla, we can all agree that Lessonly wouldn’t be what it is today without you. Thanks for what you do, but more importantly, thanks for who you are. ✨
People are at the center of every B2B brand. Culture branding your company means taking the spotlight off of your technology and placing it on the people that help you keep the lights on. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time or a large chunk of your marketing budget. Make a consistent and concerted effort to showcase your most valuable asset, while also catering to the needs of your audience in a way that feels true to your brand. This subtle shift from product to people will do wonders for cultivating more authentic relationships and building an army of loyal followers that love your brand.
Ready to level up your CX? Join us on Drift Insider. You’ll not only discover videos on using conversational marketing to create better CX, but additional certifications and courses for marketers looking to up their skills. You can visit Drift Insider here, or click the image below.
Adrian Cohn is a brand and communications strategist with experience conceptualizing and implementing worldwide, omnichannel campaigns. Adrian is the Director of Brand Strategy and Communications for Smartling, a translation technology and services company, and serves as a board member of New Orleans area hospital foundation.