The only constant in the world of enterprise technology is change. Never has that statement been more true than right now, as businesses across all industries fight to stay on the digital front foot. While this presents opportunities for vendors, it also makes it harder than ever to be heard. This guide contains the insights and advice enterprise technology brands need to make their mark through public relations and marketing.
- Key steps for any enterprise technology rebrand
- Third-party recognition: how to gain b2b credibility
Key steps for any enterprise technology rebrand
By Kerry Quintiliani
Have you ever wished that you could change the way your enterprise technology brand is perceived by others? It’s the classic “grass is always greener” effect – perhaps a change of eye or hair color, or a body switch that could present you as an entirely different person to the world (hey, it worked in Face/Off and Big). While there’s access to contacts and hair dye for people looking to make a change, achieving a perception shift in marketing isn’t always as easy.
Marketers need to make sure that their enterprise technology brand stands out from the rest – something that has become harder and harder to do as the level of competition in the industry has continued to increase. This could mean taking a stance to support a social cause or even rebranding the entire company. But one thing no enterprise technology company should never do is forget about how any change could affect its target customers.
Coca-Cola learned this the hard way when it tried to rebrand its famous soda as New Coke in 1985. The backlash was immediate and harsh – and taught company marketers that change isn’t always welcome. However, Coca-Cola took the criticism, reexamined the company, and then presented a new drink – Coca-Cola Classic – which continues to prop up its position as one of the most valuable brands over 30 years later.
Before going through an enterprise technology brand change to alter the image and/or messaging around the company or product, it’s important to:
- Keep the messaging consistent and concise: It’s crucial for any enterprise technology brand to keep its messaging consistent across the board. Straying too far from the core values of a company can confuse customers and potentially drive them away. Confusing your buyers with messaging full of jargon and IT buzzwords is a surefire way to reduce your sales, while keeping your message clear and understandable is one of the best ways to maintain healthy relationships with customers.
- Understand the buyers: What’s the use of selling to a cultivated list of customers if you’re not offering what they want and need? Before making adjustments to messaging, remember your audience. Know who you’re targeting and then create a plan that communicates clearly how your product delivers what they want and treats their pain points.
- Test your message: The budget is approved, the concept is final, and all seems well – but has the messaging been tested? Before giving the green light on any enterprise technology brand campaign, it’s important to gauge how it will be received. Utilizing test groups and A/B testing can help marketers figure out what’s perceived as a strong brand message and what messaging might miss the mark.
- When it doubt, cut it out: If you’re not sure your message will work, don’t execute the plan. It’s far easier (and more cost-effective) to pull the funding on a campaign you’re not sure about than to potentially spend millions cleaning up a mess.
Once your brand change is ready to go, don’t forget to share the new messaging across all channels. This includes targeting key media and analysts, sharing on social feeds, and investing in digital campaigns (like pay per click (PPC) and by targeting specific audiences using LinkedIn Sales Navigator and GoogleAds). These activities can play a key role in ensuring a successful brand repositioning, as a strong integrated marketing program that supports your new branding will enable you to successfully reach a wider range of audiences.
Remember, in the face of so much competition, going through a branding change can be hugely beneficial for enterprise technology companies. However, with a myriad of challenges facing today’s marketing professionals, it can also be extremely complex. That’s why simple steps like putting in the time to research target audiences (including their needs and how your offering can help them) and testing your messaging before executing any campaign can be worth their weight in gold.
Are you looking for a fresh perspective on your b2b brand campaign plan? We’d love to help – email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our contact page.
Back to the top
Third-party recognition: how to gain b2b credibility
By Alex Rabone
Third-party recognition is a major factor for any customer thinking about buying into an enterprise technology business. It provides assurance that you, the business, can provide the product or service that you say you can. It also establishes trust. Why do you trust brands like Apple to make you a working phone? Because millions of people have trusted them to do just that for years.
It’s exactly the same in the b2b world, particularly for enterprise technology companies. Without third-party recognition, businesses aren’t going to flock to a cybersecurity firm just because it claims to be able to protect customers from all cyber-attacks. It sounds too good to be true, so you have to prove it.
In order to gain industry recognition from third-parties, it’s vital not to oversell what you’re capable of. E.g. don’t say you can solve every type of cyber-attack if you can’t. This is important because potential customers will look to current customers’ or impartial third-parties’ opinions to determine if they can trust an organisation.
This trust needs to be built over time and it isn’t always easy. So, we’ve outlined three ways enterprise technology companies can establish third-party recognition to not only help build their organisation’s reputation, but also assure potential customers that they – and the product or service the offer – can be trusted.
Customers are a brand’s biggest advocate. They have first-hand experience with the business and can attest to other potential customers that the product or service is effective in what it’s designed to do. There are a number of ways to show off customers and their endorsements in order to capture some recognition in the industry.
For example, it’s common for enterprise technology businesses to list their customers’ logos on their website. It’s a simple and effective way of highlighting a number of organisations that trust the brand and its products. It’s usually accepted that the more notable the customer, the bigger impact it’ll have on the website, but they all count. It shows that a customer has been satisfied by the business relationship and garnered benefits from it.
But don’t stop there, as a couple of recognised brands probably won’t do anything more than draw a customer in. You have to argue your brand’s case and an excellent way to do that using customers, is through customer case studies.
These allow brands to demonstrate the impact that they’ve had on their customers. Whether it’s how cloud migration has transformed a business’s operations, or how a new technology has reduced fraud for a challenger bank, customer case studies offer potential new customers valuable insight and in-depth analysis of the real-life benefits on offer.
Sometimes it can be challenging to persuade customers to take part in customer case studies. Some don’t want to give away any secrets, in which case testimonials can offer a much easier way to get buy-in. They aren’t as intrusive as case studies and provide a much more personal touch than just a logo on a website.
The biggest takeaway should be that your customers can be hugely valuable. You don’t book a hotel with no reviews over another with 100 great reviews and it’s the same in b2b. The enterprise IT space is hugely competitive and companies will feel more comfortable doing business with someone if they see other companies advocating the work. There are always effective ways of utilising customer relationships.
2. Speaking opportunities
In b2b PR, establishing good media relations is critical to helping clients build their thought leadership presence. This has to be done through a continuous effort aimed at getting the company’s content and messaging coverage in the media and, most importantly, in front of the right readers.
As spokespeople begin to establish themselves in the industry, speaking at industry events offers a great way to solidify them (and in turn, the company) as a thought leader.
These opportunities help establish credibility in front of a captive audience, showing that event organisers trust, and industry professionals want to hear, what your business leader has to say. It can be difficult to accurately establish who reads specific publications, but at industry events you know you’ll be able to get spokespeople in front of a relevant crowd of potential customers – especially those that are geared towards specific aspects of enterprise IT.
Discussing customer case studies in relation to key trends in the industry shows off how your business is capable of solving problems, overcoming key industry challenges or helping businesses grow.
Winning competitions to prove that you’re the best at something is so ingrained in human nature, it’s been going on for centuries. In this sense, the world of b2b PR and marketing is no different to the ancient Greeks (albeit less dramatic).
Every year there are a number of enterprise IT awards available, ranging from the broad and project-based to the niche and solution-based categories. Winning awards provides compelling evidence to potential customers that a select committee of knowledgeable experts has agreed that your product or service is the best among its peers. It could be the deciding factor in whether a business selects your company, or a rival.
Unlike speaking events and media relations, where content is mostly designed to push spokespeople and their companies as thought leaders, awards are based on real-life evidence of the performance of a certain company, or its products and services. Thought leadership doesn’t necessarily require hard facts. It can just consist of original thoughts and insights relevant to the industry to build credibility, but awards can offer businesses more value because they have to be won on merit.
In order to win these awards, a convincing argument has to be made, or a particularly interesting use case from a customer’s perspective has to be presented. Arguing the benefits of your company’s work needs to be explicit to convince judges of the business benefits provided.
The other challenge businesses have to remember is that competition is rife – particularly among the more prestigious enterprise technology awards that have a higher level of credibility. Winning these more prestigious awards means the recognition a company achieves is that much greater, as logos can then be used in emails and marketing collateral. Earning these badges could make the difference between a customer selecting your company instead of purchasing from a competitor.
Building effective third-party recognition takes a combined effort of all of these activities. Being a thought leader in the enterprise technology industry takes continuous action year-round, while participating in awards and speaking opportunities requires preparation and planning.
And the business benefits can be significant, as effective third-party recognition could be what persuades a potential customer to do business with you. It could be from that speaking event they saw you at, the award your recently won or through the customers they know you have. These can all have a positive impact on potential customers, which is why enterprise IT companies should always be seeking to grow their credibility through third-party recognition.
To find out more about our PR and marketing services for enterprise technology brands, drop us a line at email@example.com or visit our contact page.
Back to the top