The next time you visit sievo.com or meet your favourite Sievonians, you may notice something different. Is it a new haircut or perhaps new clothes?
No, it is something bigger. Sievo just had a total makeover on redefining its new image with its updated branding!
It was a long journey, but I’d say every step is worth it. I recently joined Sievo as the new Head of Marketing. Over the past 6 months, I’ve worked with a splendid and talented team to update our visual image. The whole process was not easy needless to say, but really exciting as we all anticipated for the results.
Here is a practical guide to how it was done and the key things you can learn from our process of B2B rebranding.
Step 1. The Customer Research
Before you even think about changing your company branding, it is important to first reflect on your customers’ needs. We enlisted the inbound marketing specialists AdvanceB2B to conduct customer interviews and prepare comprehensive buyer persona research.
One key tip about conducting customer research in B2B is that you shouldn’t just consider your buying customers. AdvanceB2B interviewed both our current and potential customers, as well as aspiring future hires and colleagues to provide a 360 view of all customer needs.
Before you change your brand, do your customer research!
Step 2. The Brand Guidelines
An architect could say that you can’t build a stable building without a detailed blueprint, and I’d argue that you can’t build a stable brand without a detailed set of brand guidelines. At Sievo, we worked with the design agency Prakt to create refreshed brand guidelines in the form of a new 26 page brand book and refreshed sales materials. It was a collaborative exercise, where they got inspiration from all areas of Sievo, with a range of discussions about our customer/product fit, written tone of voice, as well as visual inspiration.
We invested heavily in detailed visual branding guidelines because we believe a few hours of a professional designer’s time will save our sales and marketing team days in production time. Here is one very concrete example of efficiencies gained: we asked the professional designers at Prakt to re-design our 10 most often used sales slides (thank goodness they were happy to work with Powerpoint). From the visual tone provided in these 10 slides, our marketing and sales teams were quickly able to update 100 additional slides, without having a doubt about whether the design looked brand-appropriate.
A little expert guidance goes a long way.
Step 3. The Human Touch
It’s often said there is no business-to-business, only human-to-human. We keep this adage in mind as we planned new creative content, intentionally moving away from illustrations and symbols to showcasing the real people behind the work with Sievo.
Here are a couple practical examples, first from our website:
Another, subtler example from our sales collateral:
If you’re in the business-to-business space, don’t forget the human touch in your visual communications.
Step 4. The Bit of Magic
So many B2B brands go for the safe route of stock photography and ready-made videos. While some of the work available online may look great, you’d be surprised how often you see the same stock images and videos being used by other companies, even direct competitors.
For Sievo, we brought in a local creative talent from Helsinki to describe Sievo in an original way.
Professional photographer Maija Astikainen spent a day at the Sievo office taking photos of our different teams. This was a fun exercise, as we uncovered many photogenic colleagues who took being on camera like ducks to water.
We also commissioned video-animations from Lucas Zanotto for our website to abstractly showcase the value that Sievo brings to business.
When you’re looking to add magic to your brand, make sure it’s unique.
Step 5. The Showroom Website
For B2B, an impressive website is as important as a showroom store is to a retailer. When you think about it this way, an enterprise company should spend as much time designing their website visuals as Harrods’ or Macy’s spend on their window displays.
Fun fact: it takes just 0.05 seconds for a visitor to form an opinion about your website, so it’s crucial to make first impressions count.
For our new website we worked with a Jyväskylä-based company called Dude – yes, that’s right, they are called “Dude.” In my view, the key thing about choosing a partner for a new website build is to be specific about what you are looking for. In our case, we wanted a fast loading, clean coded, safe WordPress site, and it’s certainly what we got from these dudes.
There are many website development partners out there. Make sure you know what you’re asking for. Do you prioritize flexibility, security or usability? Make this clear in your brief!
Step 6. Share, Learn and Improve
How do we know this visual update was worth the effort? What should we do next?
The truth is, a rebranding exercise is not something you do overnight. We will now continue to improve our website and marketing materials, and continue to collect customer views and feedback. One of the quickest ways you can provide feedback is directly on our website, where we’ve enabled live chat functionality with Intercom. Try it out!
The one common thread through all the steps above is that we’ve partnered with very talented professionals from outside of our team and industry. The most important lesson you can learn from our rebranding exercise is to look for experienced creative partners and make it a collaborative effort.
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