Don’t Manage the Media. Manage the Message.
Brand Leadership in B2B sector has direct impact business growth. B2C marketers have realised it for a long time. But in the digital age, where inbound marketing drives Sales performance and Brand authority, B2B brands are beginning to take notice. It has never been more critical for every business Leader and especially Founder to personally turn up the volume of the Brand in order to build and retain market leadership.
New brands are virtually made overnight. And, without constant marketing and innovation, leading brands can fall out of flavour equally fast. Marketing and innovation drive business irrespective of business size and, they are both a team sport. So why does a CEO/Leader need to also be the Chief Brand Builder.
Here is WHY! With technology, marketing has become more data and analytics-driven. In a way it is more laborious and, somehow less glamorous in terms of the old Mad-men style. But, simultaneously, it has become more strategic, more accountable and – because of the technology, the #martech, much more powerful. Those who understand how things work, control the outcomes, deliver transparent and controlled killer ROI. And, that’s the domain of Leaders. Leaders have the power to make the new, content-driven marketing work even better for their business!
What doesn’t work anymore?
Marketing innovation using technology, martech, and the new understanding of today’s Customer has seen the end of these marketing techniques:
- mass advertising
- traditional PR
- empty slogans
- one-off sponsorship
- thinly veiled ‘sell, sell, sell’ use of Social Media
- non-original ‘content’ that does not reflect your brand, generated by cheap off-shore-sourcing SEO companies
So, what works?
What drives a business to stand out, make selling easier and more profitable; and, ultimately, make marketing’ and selling obsolete?
In the age of global competition, business of any size needs to be where customers are, 24/7. But, here is the thing: 24/7 is no longer enough!
To break through the clutter, smart Brands leverage what I call having a point of view delivered via inbound marketing system that uses content, technology and automation.
The essence of the ‘point of view’ is authority and authenticity. The message must not only be engaging, present a variety of fresh angles and deliver value of unbiased, original information. Most importantly, it needs to come from someone with credibility and ‘klout’.
As a successful business founder or CEO, you already have klout. You can have even more influence if you are are regularly “seen and heard” and especially when you are seen surrounded by an entourage of smart people!
How many such people do you already have in your organisation? Does the CEO (Managing Director or Owner) have the right skills or even time to share the news and insights at the top of the ‘funnel’? Can your brilliant CTO or CMO pull this off alone? Sure, they can turn up the volume and frequency, but only up to a certain level.
Leaders are being told that they need to take to the pen (keyboard) personally and start Tweeting, posting, joining discussions on LinkedIn Groups… Yes, it is valuable, but the benefits need to be weighed by the cost of valuable time. Social Media, like everything else, is about quality, not quantity. But to generate the buy-in into a CEO’s SM activity, there needs to be an existing profile of the Leader or of the company. For a small, perhaps family-run business, with many daily and strategic pressures, this is probably not seen as most important and definitely not urgent.
And yet, this is exactly the type of 24/7 exposure a small business needs. Dilemma?
The good news that there is just ONE thing any Business can and needs to do to overcome this dilemma: give power to the people to AMPLIFY the Brand message. You only need ONE core, authentic message from the Leader to help you start building Thought Leadership of many experts they already have on board – for different levels of the conversation.
How can a CEO AMPLIFY the Brand Message
First step is to decide what is the most important important message about your business you want your Employees to know and be inspired with. And, only the CEO can make this decision – perhaps with advice of an experienced Marketing Manager.
We recommend that you chose one of these:
- Our Goals | are we building a cathedral together or is everybody just laying bricks?
- Our Difference | what do we do together and individually that makes us unique and better than anyone else?
- Our Customers | who are they and what problem are we solving for them better than anyone else?
- Our World | what world are we creating and what difference are we making [even small]
Let’s face it, not every Leader is a born orator or a writer! Plus, there are so many demands on the Leader’s time that they cannot communicate with all employees all the time; let alone with the same passion and consistency.
As an innovation evangelist I have interviewed some of the most innovative business and thought leaders using online video technology, including: Tom Kelly: IDEO Secret of Innovation | Moises Norena, Global Director of Innovation at Whirlpool: Cultural Transformation | Peter Freedman, Founder | MD, RODE: The Difference that RODE to Global Market Leadership.
Video is just one of the many forms of Content Marketing Leaders can use (and delegate the ‘production’) to drive Inbound growth and brand equity. Video provides an opportunity build people-driven Brand reputation and conversation around your business expertise. Featuring your brightest people talking about their passion adds ‘klout’ and proof of your Market Leadership. It makes it easy and cost effective for your Content Specialist to AMPLIFY your message across many channels using smart automation.
With the right strategic and tactical approach, you will be able to inspire your existing employees to see value in talking about their own expertise and leverage it to build your Brand; create powerful induction process for new recruits. So, when you hire, you will attract the right new employees, who share your ‘point of view’.
Margaret Manson is the Founder and Chief Inspirator or InnoFuture, a specialist B2B marketing consultancy developing marketing systems for innovative B2B companies to drive growth and build Brand equity cost-effectively.
Margaret Manson | Chief Inspirator | InnoFuture