This is the first post in a four post series on building a B2B brand awareness strategy. By implementing these four steps, you're positioning yourself to increase brand awareness.
Strategy Before Tactics
The abundance of online tools or tactics at your disposal can be a double-edge sword. On one side you have many low cost options to increase brand awareness. On the other side, they don't work very well without knowing how to use them to build your brand.
What's worse is the ridiculous number of half-day or even full-day training sessions on how to use tools like Twitter or WordPress. These classes are helpful from a tactical standpoint. They teach how to functionally use each tool, but the strategy behind how to use them to build your brand isn't there.
The missing strategy component of these seminars leads to poor results, which leads to businesses being discouraged with the tactic and giving up on it. In the end, it seems like your employees took that time away from work for little to no ROI.
You need a clear view of the plan and how to achieve your goals if you want to get that ROI. Speaking of goals...
Step 1 - Identify What Success Looks Like (Your 'Why')
Step one in building your brand awareness strategy is clearly defining success. This takes some real thought. It may require a meeting with your leadership team. Here's how I suggest approaching this process.
Start By Painting Broad Strokes
What does the future look like with increased brand awareness? What benefits will you and your company receive? This is your 'prize' list.
I recommend starting very broad. As the leader of a business, you no doubt want to increase sales and profit. That's extremely vague, but it's a start. You would probably also like to be in the position to be picky with which business you accept. Again, vague, but a good start.
Don't stop at business results. What does achieving better brand awareness do for you personally? Will you get a promotion? Will you retire earlier? Do you get to hire more high-quality talent? Does the value of your stake in the business increase substantially?
Refine The Broad Strokes With Some Detail
Once you've laid out your broad goals, it's time to add the details. Take each broad objective and establish SMART goals for them.
Increasing sales is broad and vague. You can earn one more dollar this year than last and you've achieved this objective. A better SMART goal is to increase sales by 20% to $23 million by December 31st of 2018.
When refining your goals, make sure the details are achievable. If you set a target that's too far out of reach and not realistic, you may get discouraged and give up on the goal. Make the goal readily achievable (with serious effort).
Document Your 'Why' and Hold Yourself Accountable
Step 1 of your brand awareness strategy isn't complete until it's written down and shared. You have to document and communicate your 'why' to be sure you hold yourself (and your team) accountable for achieving it.
You will also need to have regular (quarterly at minimum) meetings with your team to review progress towards the goals you've set. Consistent review of your progress will help you get back on course if you've veered and celebrate the small victories along the way.