Brand Building 101: Six Steps To Establish a Credible B2B Brand

August 18, 2023
Contributor: Amita Jain

Build a captivating software brand that attracts prospects and shapes their buying choices.

Cutting through the noise in a crowded software market is a challenge. With multiple B2B brands vying for buyers’ attention, it’s harder than ever to reach businesses, much less standout and get them to purchase from you. And even if you get your first few buyers, it’s tough to keep them coming back.

But with a strong brand presence, you can leave a lasting impression on customers and foster a sense of connection and trust in your offerings that not only encourages them to return but also makes them willing to pay more for what you offer [1].

Building a brand goes beyond choosing the right colors and designing an attention-grabbing logo. It involves crafting an effective strategy to forge a category-disrupting brand that buyers know and trust. We’ve simplified this process into a six-step checklist.

What’s brand building all about?

Brand building means creating a brand identity and promise that influences how customers and prospects perceive your business. It involves crafting your business’s purpose and character so customers know what to expect from you and what makes you different. Building a strong brand also means providing proof that supports your brand identity and promise.

Step No. 1. Align stakeholders on brand objectives and resources

This first step of building your branding strategy is convening the marketing, business and sales teams to understand the meaning of your brand from their perspective. This collaboration reveals valuable insights into why your brand exists, what it’s committed to, where it’s going and how it should behave. 

To do this, you should:

  • Identify participants involved in the process and outline their duties.
  • Define your business’s purpose and goal behind creating a brand.
  • Develop a process map of activities to be completed.
  • Reach an agreement on the branding budget.

Common roles and jobs involved in the brand-building process include:

  • Marketing leaders. They clarify marketing goals and ensure brand goals align with the company’s overall vision.
  • Product managers and teams. They assist in planning and ideating the basics of your brand, such as its vision, personality and messaging.
  • Sales and market insights teams. They provide critical input on customer preferences and market trends.
  • Other marketing members (e.g., social media, PR, digital marketing). They share insights from past campaigns, marketing initiatives and customer feedback.
How to set up for success

A narrow understanding or misrepresentation of the brand’s vision is a common pitfall at this stage. To avoid that, conduct an educational workshop for everyone involved. Discuss the core components of branding and their importance, and get the teams’ input. Also, share updates and conduct meetings regularly to foster clear communication and prevent misalignments. 

Use the insights gained from each team to create a plan that includes detailed timelines and key performance indicators (KPIs). Encourage each team to take ownership of their part in the brand-building process.

Step No. 2. Research your target customers to understand their needs better

Once you know your brand-building goals, switch your focus to customers and cultivate a comprehensive understanding of your target market. Software buyers typically seek a solution that can quickly and effortlessly solve their problems. Therefore, they’re drawn to brands that show a deep and up-to-date understanding of their pain points. 

To do this, you should:

  • Gain a keen awareness of your buyers’ business culture and decision-making processes.
  • Create a different buyer persona for each key stakeholder in your prospect’s software buying group.
  • Formulate documented personas of target customer audience segments.
How to set up for success

To gather information on your customers, tap into various sources such as insights from your sales and product teams, feedback from loyal customers and reviews from well-known software review sites (e.g., Capterra, GetApp, Software Advice). 

Once you have this data, see if you can answer these questions:

  1. Which customer segment are you aiming to reach?
  2. What problem are you trying to solve for this target segment?
  3. Why does this segment need to solve this problem?
  4. What are their biggest practical and emotional hurdles in solving this problem?
  5. How do they currently address those hurdles?
  6. When do they actively attempt to address this problem?
  7. What specific actions do they take (such as researching new options) before buying a solution for the problem and after making the purchase? 
  8. What is their emotional state when trying to solve the problem vs. after they’ve solved it?
  9. What assistance do they value when addressing the problem?
  10. What do they view as basics or table stakes that they expect from a solution to solve the problem?

If you can’t answer the bulk of these questions, you’ll need to gather more information before creating your buyer personas.

Explore more insights on software buyer needs and preferences in the Global Software Buying Trends Survey 2023.


Step No. 3. Define your unique brand positioning

Your target audience already has a lot of options to choose from, and if you position your offerings more of the same as your competitors, you’ll be at a distinct disadvantage.

Identify where your offering best fits in by figuring out what your competitors are bringing to the table and what’s your unique standing amid that (known as defining your brand position). 

To do that, you need to: 

  • Identify gaps left open by your competitors.
  • Use your product features, benefits and values to turn those gaps into a specific brand positioning statement.
How to set up for success

A good place to start is to identify which other options your prospects would consider if you weren’t available. Each of those options will have its pros and cons compared with selecting you. Based on that information, figure out how you’re uniquely positioned to provide value to customers as opposed to other alternatives.

Use the below framework to shape your brand positioning statement: 

To (add target audience), (add brand name) is the one (add a competitive frame of reference) that offers (add benefits), supported by (add reasons to believe).

For example: To CTOs at small insurance firms, X is the one software brand that offers the most comprehensive monitoring solution with the quickest time to value, supported by it being voted the most scalable enterprise software and its 30-year history in the software space.

Step No. 4. Develop effective brand messaging

After identifying your unique brand position, it’s time to stake your claim to that position. Craft compelling messages to clearly communicate (and convince) that the turf is yours. 

To do that, you need to:

  • Communicate to prospects how you’ve successfully helped organizations like theirs reduce their pain points.
  • Develop your visual brand identity, including your brand name, logo and color palette.
How to set up for success

Construct at least three proof points to support your brand positioning. For instance, if you say you’re a popular email marketing platform, your proof points could be that you’ve successfully served millions of businesses, you have an award-winning 24/7 customer support team and your platform has high ratings (4.7 out of 5) on software review platforms. 

Every piece of communication — website, email newsletter or even elevator pitch — to your target customers should tie back to these messages.

Customize these brand messages for the different audience segments you’re targeting. Include how you work with organizations similar to theirs, what kind of processes and outcomes they should expect and what are the experiences of other similar firms that have worked with you.

Step No. 5. Collect user testimonials to back your brand

According to our  2023 Global Software Buying Trends report, customer reviews and ratings are the most popular content type among business leaders looking to buy software. Use customer reviews and testimonials as social proof to support your brand messaging and make an authentic first impression on prospective customers. 

To do that, you need to:

  • Gather customer testimonials and case studies to validate your proof points.
  • Display industry-recognized badges of excellence to showcase your software is a top player in its category.
How to set up for success

Buyers recognize that performance claims are part of every software brand’s marketing strategy, so they look to reviews to validate those claims. Therefore, leverage user reviews extensively to strengthen your brand positioning. Share them across your marketing material, including social media posts, brochures and landing pages. 

The majority of buyers (86%) say “verified reviews” are important, and we know collecting authentic reviews can be time-consuming. With Gartner Digital Markets’ Review Collection Service, you can effortlessly capture verified customer feedback with an always-on program. Our quality assurance team checks each submitted review to ensure it meets Gartner’s quality standards for authenticity. 

List your product on Gartner Digital Markets’ software review sites for free, and start collecting and analyzing reviews to develop your brand messaging.

Step No. 6. Launch your brand and track performance by channel

With the groundwork laid, it’s time to take your brand live and get it in front of buyers via the right channels. But remember, this is just the beginning of a continuous process of testing, learning and refining your brand based on market and customer feedback. 

Per the Gartner Email Marketing Market Guide [2], social marketing is the top preferred channel for raising brand awareness, followed by digital advertising, SEO, event marketing, mobile marketing and email marketing.

To do that, you need to: 

  • Pick a relevant channel mix to reach your target audience.
  • Track your brand health against the stated objectives over time.
  • Ensure everyone in your organization is adhering to the brand guidelines.
How to set up for success

Assess your performance by first evaluating if you’re able to execute campaigns on all the marketing channels you want to. If not, figure out why. Was it too complicated, or did you not have enough time or resources? Decide if you need external marketing help. 

Now, in the areas you were successful at execution, evaluate the return on investment. Measure the volume and quality of leads generated. Since those can take time to reflect, start looking at leading indicators or early signs of success; for example, good feedback on your ads, invitations to industry events or higher likes and shares on your social media posts, articles, podcasts and videos. Also, don’t hesitate to ask a customer in your target buyer segment for direct feedback.

What’s next? Monitor and keep evolving your brand

How do you know if you’ve created a valuable brand? A simple trick is to see how much more customers are willing to pay for your offering over other substitutes. If they’re happy to do so, you’ve created a strong brand. If not, you need to do some more work.

Brand building is an ongoing journey. Your brand position might stay the same for a few years, but it’s always subject to industry innovation and changing customer needs. Therefore, keep conducting brand audits and make updates as needed. Use insights from customer feedback to track and refine your brand strategy and adjust aspects that aren’t resonating.


Start collecting reviews to build trust with customers and highlight the value your brand creates for buyers. Use customer feedback to enhance your brand experience. 

Amita Jain

Amita Jain covers B2B content creation and strategy to help businesses reach their marketing goals. She received her master’s degree from King’s College London, U.K. Exploring the world of art and reading fiction are some of her usual happy distractions outside of work. Connect with Amita on LinkedIn.

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