Our mission is to transform B2B companies into what we call brave B2B brands
Having been in the industry for over 20 years, we’ve seen the increase and the rise of marketing automation and technologies that allow us to track our marketing activities in an easy way. Now, we’re not saying that all those buzzwords – ROI, ABM, Demand Gen, Lead Gen – are bad. But, as marketers, in our focus on measurable performance marketing, we forgot what’s at the core: a strong, memorable brand. A brand that someone recalls when the purchasing situation is right. A brand that focuses on memory generation as opposed to lead generation.
That’s where bravery comes in. Creating a memory means being noticed. It means being heard above the fray. It means standing out, doing the unexpected. It means being uncomfortable and authentic.
Being brave is about allowing the brand you create to be a true reflection of the company you are. Not a me-too. Not a wannabe. Brands that come from the inside out don’t need to pretend. We know that every business has a unique story to tell. A reason for being and a reason for having been started. Sometimes that reason gets forgotten or clouded. We believe it’s our job to help our clients lift their gazes to not only unearth that true nugget, but also figure out how to package it and tell it to the world. That’s how brands become unique and stand out – because they’re a true reflection of what’s happening on the inside.
When we talk about bravery in branding, we don’t mean jumping out of helicopters at 20,000 feet. We mean pushing outside of the comfort zone and embracing discomfort. The dictionary definition claims that brave is doing something despite the fear of doing so. So how does that translate to branding and creating brave brands?
When we tell our clients we want to help them build a brave brand, they sometimes get intimidated. It seems like we’ve all been conditioned to believe that brave has to mean politically incorrect or stupid. We couldn’t disagree more with this. But most of the time, brave stands out. Brave is the gut feeling I get when I look at a piece of creative and I just know. That feeling is a little uncomfortable and you know there are of course people who are going to love it, but there’s also that risk that there are people who will hate it. It’s scary, but you know it’s right. Because you know that people will at least notice. Brave choices will stand out just like Unsupervised did with their new brand that is both exuberant and an authentic reflection of them as a company.
I read a statistic a long time ago that up to 80% of all digital marketing and advertising budget was wasted. It was wasted because it went by completely unnoticed. That can also go for brands and branding. There’s a reason the saying that nobody ever got fired for buying IBM still rings true. It’s also applicable to the creative. People are sometimes scared to pick the things that stand out and will get noticed, much easier and safer to pick the vanilla option.
An important aspect of brave branding to us is human first thinking – something that is sometimes seen as revolutionary in the B2B world. Maybe it’s because we got our start in the consumer world with brands such as the San Francisco Examiner, the Blue & Gold Fleet and Palace Hotel, but our approach starts and ends with the user. Who are they, what are their business problems, and, more importantly, how can we help them solve them? How do we help them get better at their jobs? How do we help them drive results and revenue?
So be open minded and think about your own creative itches. Most of all, remember your first reaction. Did it make you giggle? Were you pulled in and interested in finding out more? Even though the option that isn’t going to raise any eyebrows may feel safe, your audience will most likely react in the same way too… They’ll forget it. In other words, your first reaction is valid. When we start to be brave with our marketing decision, we can solve business problems. We can create success and we can build B2B brands people actually believe in.