B2B Brand Differentiation

The Many Colors of Branding Success

Every year, Fortune ranks the world’s top companies across a range of criteria. Looking at the classic Fortune 100, the more recent list of Unicorns (private startups that are valued at $1 billion or more), and other lists, we were curious to see how color was used in the brand identities of these successful…

What Do Mount Everest and Carl Jung Have to Do With Branding a Professional Services Firm?

While conducting research for our branding project with ICF, a global consulting firm, we did a lot of “typical” research: in-depth interviews with senior leaders in the organization, conversations with current and prospective clients, and an online, all-employee survey. We were getting a lot of good material – insight into the company culture, perspectives…

Cutting Through the Sea of Sameness: Creating a Stand-Out Law Firm Brand

For decades, law firms went to market with stale messages that did little to create compelling impressions in the minds of their audiences, let alone lasting ones. To a large extent, they got away with it — relying on the strength of their bench, their personal relationships, and the knowledge that big companies had big budgets…

Experience is the New Marketing

There is a lot of content out there on customer experience. It can be a bit overwhelming to try and wade through all of it. In an effort to save marketing executives some time (and frustration), here is a short list (and concise summaries) of some of the articles we believe you will find most…

Keeping it Real: The Emergence of Authenticity in Design

In the past few years, we’ve seen “authenticity” emerge as a theme in branding and design; this year, it has exponentially increased in importance and value. That’s understandable: in a world where “fake” news can dominate the political conversation and Instagram stars turn out to be imposters, consumers have become increasingly cynical.

A…

Audio Whitepaper: Technology Branding

A brand is a brand is a brand. And then there are technology brands. While other industries face new competitors, technology companies face disruptors – companies that completely alter the competitive landscape and threaten the very survival of legacy players.

Technology companies that embrace their brand as an articulation of the promise that they deliver through…

Fonts Matter

Dear Google, Apple, Adobe and Microsoft,
You may not know me, but I was created with great care and purpose. Every image, hue and letter. I am special. I have meaning.

I live in hearts and minds, in words and actions, in websites and ad campaigns and brochures. But mostly frequently, I live in Word…

Why Focus is So Important for Building Brands (and Businesses)

Every morning before my coffee hits and my mood improves, I shuffle onto a crowded, Manhattan-bound L train. More often than not, at least one of my fellow passengers is an ad from ConEd bearing its campaign line cum tag line “Everything Matters.” And every time I see “Everything Matters” plastered next to a…

Great Expectations: Why Customer Experience Should be Brand-Driven, Not Technology-Driven

It’s a topic on the mind of every B2B marketer these days: customer experience, that elusive moving target. Specifically, how to meet customer expectations when, as a brand, you are competing against every (predominantly digital) interaction your customers have ever had.

For many B2B marketers, keeping up with customers, not competitors, has become their…

Is It Time for Cyber Security Brands to Leave the Battlefield?

Look around any security technology tradeshow and you’ll feel more like you’re in a national security event than a business technology conference. Military images, dark, ominous colors, and foreboding language from vendors that all convey the same message: You’re not safe, and you need us to protect you.
Be Afraid. Be Very…

Stop Blaming Your Tagline!

There are two assumptions about taglines we often hear during branding initiatives. They go something like this:

#1: To stand out, a company needs a tagline.

#2: When a tagline fails to catch on (and therefore fails to help a company stand out), it’s because it wasn’t very good.

The tagline’s promise…

Is Simple Always Smart?

A leading energy consulting firm had a proprietary methodology for significantly reducing energy costs (think seven-figure savings, each year). Though the company’s proprietary solution was extremely powerful, it was communicated in such a seemingly straightforward manner, that many prospective clients thought – mistakenly –they could build a comparable energy-savings program on their own…

Keeping Up With Your Customers

In today’s digitally-driven, increasingly disruptive B2B landscape, creating sustainable advantage is more elusive than ever. In fact, the sheer pace of change has left many B2B marketers feeling like they are in a perpetual state of catch-up (there are entire conferences devoted to this pursuit). And it’s not just the up…

Audio Whitepaper: Professional Services Branding

You’ve heard these statements from professional services firms before: “We are committed to meeting client needs,” “We have deep industry expertise,” “We have a culture of transparency and trust,” These statements might be true, but they are also completely forgettable. They do nothing to make the firm stand out.

Finding a unique brand position…

Brand Dividends: Why Investors Should Be Part of Your Equation

We recently partnered with a fast-growing data analytics company. It had successfully leapfrogged larger, more established competitors by providing hand-on, high-touch, over-the-top customer service. Branding around this level of service was a no-brainer, right? Well, maybe not. The company was preparing to go public. High-touch service is a…

What Comes First: Brand or Culture?

It’s the classic chicken or egg. What comes first: brand or culture? Leadership teams often ask us this very question during rebranding initiatives. While there is no one-size-fits-all answer, there are two critical questions that any leadership team must answer to understand the optimal relationship between brand and culture in their…

Are You a Thought Leader or a Thought Follower?

This was the question raised in a recent Forbes articles. And it’s an important one, especially for professional services firms for which “thought leadership is one of the most powerful methodologies for generating new business opportunities.” Talk about ROI! It’s no wonder professional services firms have collectively become content powerhouses.
The Content Conundrum…

Words At Work

We are constantly amazed by the power of words, especially when it comes to employee engagement. Seemingly small tweaks in language can lead to meaningful changes in employee perceptions, morale and even behavior. In fact, according the WSJ, new cognitive science studies show that language “profoundly influences how we see the world…It turns out…