HomeBlog B2B Brand and the Revenue Imperative

B2B Brand and the Revenue Imperative

July 10, 2013|Erin Provey

Brand value must always be measured and articulated in terms of its ability to drive revenue. This means that although top-line “master brand” measurement can be important, brand is most critical for its ability to create an uneven playing field in a buying scenario that works to the organization’s advantage.

Over the past year, I have met every Friday afternoon with my esteemed colleague Ross Graber – research director for our Marketing Operations Strategies service ­–  for a sometimes painful, always thought-provoking discussion on b-to-b brand measurement.

One result of these discussions was a new framework, introduced at last month’s SiriusDecisions Summit, that is designed to help organizations operationalize their approach to gathering brand insights. The framework took what is usually an expensive annual outsourced exercise and turned it into something that organizations can implement on their own as a sort of joint venture between brand managers and marketing operations.

Many learnings emerged from my collaboration with Ross and the corresponding work on brand measurement we’ve done with clients. The lesson that stands out as the most fundamental, important and often overlooked is that the purpose of brand in a b-to-b organization is – and must be – to drive revenue.

Moreover, until we “brand people” acknowledge and embrace this reality, we will continue to fail at explaining to our peers how brand works.

For example, certainly we need the brand to attract great talent...but we need great talent in order to maintain a competitive edge and drive revenue, right? And yes, absolutely, we want to be considered a thought leader in our industry … in order to be positioned as a trusted expert in the field so that buyers come to us first and, ideally, buy from us. And yes, oh goodness yes, we want to be liked. Don’t we all want to be liked? But really, don’t we want to be preferred? Over our competitors? In order to win more deals?

Brand value must always be measured and articulated in terms of its ability to drive revenue. This means that although top-line “master brand” measurement can be important, brand is most critical for its ability to create an uneven playing field in a buying scenario that works to the organization’s advantage.

A large corporate master brand at its highest level may be associated with highly positive attributes in the abstract. But most organizations find that the brand creates an advantage in parts of its business and a disadvantage in other parts (often when offerings deviate from the core competency with which the brand is primarily associated).

Once we “brand people” accept our responsibility for contributing to revenue generation, we can narrow the aperture through which we measure brand and use keywords and market segmentation to drive our measurement. This strategy improves our ability to accurately explain the ways that the brand is working – or not working – on behalf of the business, as well as guide future investments of time and energy to better support business objectives.

Erin Provey

Erin Provey is a Senior Research Director of Corporate and Executive Marketing Strategies at SiriusDecisions. She has more than 10 years of experience in brand strategy, including positioning, identity, public relations, digital strategy, copywriting and account management. Follow Erin on Twitter @erinprovey.
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