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The Secret to Making Your Brand Value Stand Out

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Brand value is like a cloud--it’s difficult to grab ahold of, but you know that it’s there and covers a lot of things.

There is a scene from one of my favorite movies, “Forrest Gump,” where Forrest and Bubba are slogging through the rain-drenched jungle of Vietnam. In the middle of the night, as they are about to go to sleep, that great philosopher Bubba says to his friend, “Forrest, I’m gonna lean up against you. You just lean right back against me. That way we don’t have to sleep with our heads in the mud.”

That scene reminds me of the symbiotic relationship between vendors and partners, and the way they lean against one another for mutual success--or, in Bubba-speak, to keep our heads out of the mud.

This is particularly true when it comes to brand value, something that oftentimes is difficult to quantify. Brand value is like a cloud--it’s difficult to grab ahold of, but you know that it’s there and covers a lot of things. One of the most challenging aspects of marketing is not only to have your company’s Brand value stand out, but to stay top-of-mind.

Having led marketing and communications teams in the channel for more than 20 years, I know that a good marketing communications strategy approach is necessary to communicate your brand’s value.

Your first objective, of course, is defining your brand value. It’s more difficult than it sounds. It really is. Because you can always identify the nuts and bolts of your company. But with brand value, you are attempting to capture the ethereal nature of your business--the soul of your company, what you stand for and represent, if you will.

Vendors rely on their marketing communications teams to deliver the short and long story of their brand value by leveraging a multitude of communication vehicles--email, social media, blogging, success stories and more--aimed at both partners and customers. There is both an art and a science to it because the messaging must be parsed in just the right manner to the intended targets.

Which takes me back to the Bubba-Forrest symbiosis.

Lean on Your Vendor
While it is impossible for a vendor to be all things to every partner, we do recognize that partners extend our footprint in the marketplace. Vendors also recognize that not all partners have the resources necessary to pursue the type of campaigns they may want to execute.

At SAP, we provide our partners with a wide breadth of marketing and communications training, along with assets, content, and guidance that they can leverage to market and communicate better to the market, prospects, customers and business partners.

For years, channel vendors have provided a variety of training and resources to help their partners become effective marketers.  Most of the top channel vendors have sophisticated offerings that range from on-demand trainings to in-person workshops on the ABCs of marketing and plug-and-play demand generation campaigns, which can often be co-branded with the vendor.

If your vendor offers co-branded digital marketing campaigns, take advantage of them. Being associated with the brand strength of a well-known, respected company can help you strengthen your own brand. Whether you’re looking to drive awareness and consideration, find new leads or close a deal, when you communicate your brand’s value, keep these three tips in mind:

  • Be Authentic – Your customers don’t want you to talk to them as if they are a walking cash machine. Communicate to them in a voice and tone that is authentic, personal, and empathetic.
  • Create a Good Conversation –  The more you humanize your brand, the more your customers will remember it. Make them feel as if you’re speaking directly to them. That means knowing your customer persona, and knowing that communicating to a line-of-business owner in finance is different than communicating to to the head of manufacturing.
  • Keep Your Content Relevant and Helpful – Engage your customers with relevant content that speaks to their hearts, interests and issues. When you create content that resonates with your customers on good things, they will remember it, and that will help your brand gain more mindshare. For instance, SAP features  a section in our partner website called SAPInnovations4Good, a repository of public domain articles about SAP partners using technology on social issues ranging from tackling modern slavery to preventing malnutrition.

Remember, too, as you communicate your brand’s value, that no one thing works. Use an integrated approach with various vehicles, touch points and tactics. Even though I referenced Forrest Gump, this is not 1994. We’ve come a long way since then. You have a multitude of options for outreach--digital marketing, blogging, new influencers, videos, social media and more--to ensure your messages resonate.   

Whether you’re a vendor or a partner, it’s jungle out there. You have to do whatever you can to keep your head out of the mud.

Ira Simon (follow me on Twitter - @IraASimon) is global vice president, Partner & SME Marketing, at SAP. Learn more about partnership opportunities at: http://go.sap.com/partner.html

Guest blogs such as this one are published monthly and are part of The VAR Guy's annual platinum sponsorship.

 

 

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