Branding for Start-Ups: Should B2B Companies Care?

Published on: | Updated on: | Trisha Miles


For start-up companies in the B2B space, branding might not be the first priority of the marketing team. However, laying the groundwork for a strong, cohesive brand can empower these start-ups to create a truly premium brand in their marketplace. 

How do you do this? Why should you care about making your start-up brand “premium”?

Nick Wassenberg, Vice President of Marketing at Fulcrum, shares some of his insights for establishing a brand that resonates with your audience on an authentic, emotional level that will set you apart from your competitors. 

The Key to Start-Up Branding 

The results of strat-up branding efforts won’t always appear in your KPIs, but these efforts are one way of ensuring you don’t hit a plateau with your demand generation. B2B start-up marketing teams should: 

  • Invest sufficient time to set the fundamentals of the start-up branding strategy 
  • Go a level deeper when it comes to understanding the audience: what’s truly driving their needs?  
  • Think about the promise the brand is making and how this will be brought to life for consumers 
  • Aspire to do the best work of their career, every single day 

So, again, you ask, “Why should I care?”  

At the end of the day, creating a premium brand will drive increased revenue for your business. 

Take 5 minutes to tune in and learn from Nick’s experiences!  


Video Transcript:

CAROLINE: Hi today. I am here with Nick Wassenberg. He is a Demand Gen marketing leader, and he is the Vice President of marketing at Fulcrum. Nick, thank you so much for being with me today. 

NICK: You're welcome. Good to be with you, Caroline. 

CAROLINE: On these episodes, we talked sometimes about branding. They think branding is especially interesting in B2B in start-up marketing, because this is rarely the first thing marketers think about Yet, it's really, really important. So, Nick, my question for you today is how can you build beyond a premium B2B brand, and why should marketers think about it even when you're in a startup environment? 

NICK: Yeah. I think if you look at a lot of the successful technology companies that are out there in the BTB space, a lot of them, their brand feels really premium. As you said, I think that's a good word. And the thing that I think they get right is that they kind of weight brand and demand generation in their campaigns, actually with the same level of scrutiny. I mean, lots and lots of marketers out there are very developed skills are on analytics and develop skills around conversion rate optimization and technical SEO and things like that, which is all great and super important. 

I think the trap that some marketing teams can fall into is when they don't take the time to get the fundamentals of the brand actually right. Right, of course, is a very subjective term. But I think you have to aspire to the way that I think about it in the way that our team thinks about is in the moment you're in right now, do the best work of your career. Do the type of marketing and the type of design invest in design to make it stand out as something that you're really proud of. 

I think there's way too many channels, way too many easy access, kind of leverage to pull that marketers sometimes. Forget that we are in the stories telling and kind of belief business, really. I think focusing and balancing out. I think I just plot out your schedule. A lot of what you're doing on any given day or week. Are you spending time really thinking about the promise that the brand is making and how customers will receive that promise and how it actually comes to life? 

I think doesn't always show up necessarily directly on a KPI or dashboard or something, but it is something that is going to keep you from hitting a Plateau in some of the more traditional demand gen channels. That was a long winded answer. Hopefully that makes some sense. 

CAROLINE: No, that does. And there's a lot to be said for how your brand impacts your demand gen injures your overall growth strategy. It if you have a very clear story that is easy to understand that you actually deliver on, then it's a story that people can spread. Right. And if you forget the storytelling part of it, this is what we stand for, and we're going to make it clear through all of our messaging, through all of our marketing programs. Then the story becomes confusing, and people cannot spread it. So, I think it's so important. 

NICK: I think part of it is recognizing when a great story will represent the brand really well. It is, I think, become more and more true that both the storytelling, the words and the visual actually matter a lot in modern marketing, whether it's B2C or B2B. And so, what tends to happen is which I think is healthy is every salesperson, every marketing person, every customer success person has a couple of stories that they go to of a customer. 

And the more that marketing, I think, can shape that, that's truly in line with the ideal customer profile, that it's truly enough of a story that has creates enough urgency and creates enough buy in. If we're telling the right stories, we're halfway to really representing the brand in a really, really great way and the visuals can help support that story, too. So visual storytelling, I think super important. What we do here is we say, okay, what's our ideal customer? What does that profile look like? Let's go a layer deeper. Let's try to understand what's driving their need to buy a certain piece of software and what's driving that need behind the need. Keep going in terms of understanding. 

And then the job of marketing is as important internally as anything else that's helping the team at large really understand at a truly fundamental level what those stories represent the emotional appeals that are within those stories and what triggers to listen to start to tell them. 

CAROLINE: Right. Yeah. I think the emotional part is so important. One of the best websites I've ever seen was a company called Track Maven. Are you familiar? 

NICK: Yeah. They got a little Corgi dog as their mascot. I have a Corgi mix dog. So, they stood out for me. Yeah, I know them a little bit. 

CAROLINE: Yeah. It was a while ago, but they had totally redone their website. And he was like, very lots of white space. And the timeline was going back to doing what you love, because they were all about, like, making the tracking super easy. So, you didn't have to spend your time doing this. And as a marketer, it really resonated. I was like, oh, I can spend time telling stories, crafting campaigns and all that type of stuff. And so, it just struck me as something that really, really works. Right. Like, pull something in you that it's not that is not the bottom line, but the buyer feels something from it.  

NICK: Yeah. It's about the feeling. And I think there's this tradition within business to business marketing that is a lot of white papers, and it's technical or its I don't know. It's very specifically feature and benefit kind of narrowly focused, I think if you can open up the aperture of what the features and the benefits and the value actually mean to a person where people doing jobs on a daily basis and as well, if I can get back to the part of the job that I love and boss down the things that I don't love that's actually really valuable value proposition and valuable software, it lets me do what I love doing on a daily basis. I can't think of much more value than that. Right? 

CAROLINE: Exactly. All right. Well, I think this was great. Very insightful. Thank you so much for your time today. We appreciate it. 

NICK: You're welcome. Great talking to you.