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B2B PR: Why Your Company Needs a Personal Brand

Posted by wendyama

Have you created a personal brand for your company?


We're so busy creating our own brands -- our own monikers -- that too often our company brands take a backseat. We forget that a business, especially a B2B firm, requires a personal brand. Personal branding is all about polishing your reputation.  It's the difference between being n unknown vs. being a recognized.  The same concept applies to a business-to-business company. Think about it this way. Do you to wake up in the morning and say, I need to get the latest process software for my company? Of course not.  But you might say, I need to buy an iphone for my son.  That's because a B2B product/service doesn't have the instant gratification of many consumer products. You buy it because you need it, not because you want it. And you're often buying relationships and credibility.

For that reason, before you make a B2B purchase, you want to know about the person you're buying from. Fact sheets, white papers, case studies, articles and ebooks can  influence your buying decision and distinguish one company from another. All of which leads to the importance of a Business Personal Brand for a B2B company--the triggers that will encourage you to buy from one company over another.

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To help our clients define their Business Personal Brand, we typically begin with a messaging workshop, a two- to three-hour session to help them better position themselves and spell out what's special about what they're doing and why anyone should care.

In the workshop, we focus on 4 questions, what we call the 4Ws. Who are you? What do your prospects want to hear? Who is your audience? What makes you special? Answering those questions helps tease out what makes the client different and how it adds value. You need to do it, however, in a way that makes someone want to sit up and pay attention. It's the difference between saying, "I make widgets to saying "I make widgets that make our customers lives safer." One is factual; the other adds value. Once you define your key messages in a messaging workshop-type exercise, you need to insure that all your marketing collateral speaks to these messages so you're amplifying your voice. There's nothing worse than having one part of your company emphasize certain features and benefits and another part have a totally different message. All you end up doing is confusing the customer.

 

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Once your marketing materials are in place, you're ready to get the word out. Today that means becoming in a sense a publisher. We're talking white papers, ebooks, case studies, and any and all content that makes what you do and your industry more accessible to your audience. One can cross-promote the other and together establish a crescendo of influence. Do all of this and I guarantee you will have a company personal brand that people care about. What are you doing to provide a business personal brand?

WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT BUILDING A PERSONAL BRAND FOR YOUR COMPANY? Check out our interview on Webmaster Radio.

This post originally ran in a little different form on FastCompany.com

Dec 12, 2010
 
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Wendy Marx

Wendy Marx is the founder and president of Marx Communications, a boutique inbound marketing and public relations agency. An award-winning B2B public relations pro, she has helped many small- & medium-sized firms (SMBs) become well-known industry brands and transform their businesses, going from Anonymity to Industry Iconâ„¢.

Her business articles have appeared in The New York Times, InformationWeek, Inc., Advertising Age, & Fast Company, among other outlets. 

View all posts by Wendy Marx