Tips for B2B Brand Building

Brand building takes time and dedication. Unwavering fidelity to a consistent message that conveys a valuable differentiator will pay you large dividends and turn your brand into the most valuable asset you own.From the buyer’s perspective, the brand is an insurance policy. A brand on the side of a potato chip bag tells the buyer exactly what those potato chips are going to taste like – every time. But in B2B sales, buyers often don’t know what they need, what’s available, or how it works. So a solid B2B brand communicates this message, You can count on us to help you figure out exactly what you need, provide a product that will fulfill or exceed that need, and show you how to use it. A reputable B2B brand, from the buyer’s perspective, insures the buyer against risk before and after buying.From the B2B seller’s perspective, the basic purpose of a brand is to educate the potential buyer and reduce the impact of price on the purchasing decision. Research shows that people will pay more for products and services if they come from a well-known company. Consider the following.The 4 benefits of well-branded B2B companiesClients give well-branded companies greater leeway and more opportunities than their lesser-known peers. Clients let these firms have:1. Access: Anyone who’s ever tried to see a C-suite executive knows half the challenge is simply getting in the door. Executives have rules that their staffs use to filter vendors, such as Have I ever heard of this company?2. Permission to take on Bigger Projects: Clients place more trust in well-branded firms and let them extend themselves beyond their own stated capabilities and track record. That extra amount of trust gives branded companies permission to take on bigger projects than more experienced competitors.
3. Confidence in Potential: Often companies will invest in emerging technologies and services simply because they come from a company with the potential to set a standard.4. The Chance to Recover: Clients want to pay for tried and true experience. The difference between a lesser-known company that fails and a well-branded company that fails is that the well-branded company will have the opportunity to restore confidence.Basic brand buildingBrand building is a science and it’s not complex. It does require strict adherence to simple guidelines and – most of all – diligent monitoring and follow through. Brand building is basically laying a smart foundation and paying attention to detail. Here are the eight steps.1. Start with a quality productA quality product/service that delivers superior performance is the foundation of a strong brand. High quality is a prerequisite to entry, but not enough to set your brand apart from the competition. Be sure every product and service you offer is the best possible.2. Identify your brand’s differentiatorOnce you’re sure you have a high quality product, decide on the singular distinction for your product that is most important to your target market. Put a lot of thought into choosing this differentiator because you want everything you do to reinforce that singular distinction in the market. If your brand is not first in your category then consider creating a new category where your brand can be first.3. Create a brand nameAvoid anything that sounds generic or inauthentic. Generic words include national, American, U.S., advanced, precision, technical, reliable, general, standard, etc. Within every industry, there are one or two other generic words that seem to creep into company names and brands. These are words that companies think resonate with prospects, but usually don’t. For example, frozen foods brands often include some derivative of the words fresh and flavor, in an effort to combat the notion that frozen foods are neither fresh nor flavorful. The problem is that these words are used so often they’ve lost their meaning.In addition, avoid words that are inauthentic. For example, the word fresh when applied to frozen foods is obviously not authentic.The brand name doesn’t have to include the company name. In fact, you want the brand to be the focus, not the company. Consider an abbreviation, an acronym, your differentiator, the founder’s name, an alternative spelling, etc.Finally, before you start using your new name and start investing in signs and printed materials, be sure that the name is legally available wherever you will be doing business in the next 10 years.4. Create a logo and taglineNow that you have a high quality product with a compelling differentiator and a great brand name, come up with a memorable logo and catchy tagline. Your brand logo and tagline need to make an immediate and lasting impression. Because of this, brevity and simplicity are important.When defining your message, try to own a single word or short phrase. You want that word or phrase to be firmly etched in the mind of the target market – you want the market to associate that word or phrase with your brand.The logo should be simple and include the brand name in a legible typeface. For maximum visual impact, the basic logo shape should be rectangular – about 2-1/4 units wide to one unit high. Be sure that your signature color is very different from your closest competitors’ colors.Other logo considerations include:
• Does it tie into your brand?
• Is it distinctive?
• Will it morph easily for brand extensions?
• Does it reproduce well in black and white?
• Does it reproduce well in scanned documents?
• Is it scalable?
• Will it imprint or embroider well on merchandise?Think about creating a brand style sheet that spells out exactly where, when, and how the logo and tagline should be used.5. Protect your logo and taglineAs long as no one else is using a logo and/or tagline identical or very similar to yours, you can consider your logo and tagline copyrighted as soon as you finalize them. Copyright law, which covers text and graphics among other things, conveys ownership from the moment the materials are fixed in tangible form.While this is true, smart companies have their logos and taglines trademarked – using the  symbol during the trademarking process and the  symbol once it’s approved. This prevents other companies from using your logo and/or tagline and trademarking them as their own.This is how the law works, if you have not officially trademarked your logo and/or tagline, you own it. If others try to use it, you can legally stop them from doing so UNLESS, they apply for trademark protection. This means if you don’t trademark your logo and/or tagline, someone else can and YOU will have to stop using it.You can do a logo and tagline search at The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office: However, this is an area where you definitely need legal services.6. Develop a consistent messageDevelop a consistent message by solidifying:
• Your target audience
• What your brand stands for
• Your differentiator
• Your logo and tagline
• Your business objectivesBrand attributes in your message need to be authentic and verifiable. Your brand should readily tap into your target market’s needs and evoke a gut-level response.Once you know what you want to convey, create a messaging guide and distribute it to all employees.7. Market the brandAchieving and building on name recognition is the key to brand success. Get your brand message out there consistently and continuously through PR, advertising, and networking. Take advantage of every positive opportunity and be careful not to associate the brand with anything potentially negative.Your branding effort must permeate your entire organization and communicate through all marketing channels with one voice, in the same tone, and in the same style. In other words, your brand image must be consistent and constant across all channels of communication, including:• Print, online, and broadcast advertising
• Print, online, and broadcast media
• Internal publications
• Indoor and outdoor signage
• Web site and Web marketing
• Print collateral
• Packaging
• Merchandising
• Point of purchase
• Phone system
• Uniforms
• Delivery vehicles
• Trade shows
• Events
• Promotional items
• Employee, industry, shareholder, community, and government relations
• Sponsorships8. Live the messageWhatever your brand image and differentiator, you have made promises to your market that you must deliver on. Remember, your brand is nothing more or less than these promises. If you’ve taken time to complete the first step – ensuring that all of your products and services are of the highest quality – delivering on your brand promises shouldn’t be an issue. Take an extra step and consider offering an unconditional guarantee on either your entire differentiator or one aspect.B2B brand building is especially important to sales. Clients get their first sense of the company in the sales call and proposal. This is why you need a proactive plan in place. By selling the brand, you create a self-perpetuating cycle. The brand will help make the sale and each sale will reinforce the brand – making it, truly, your most valuable asset.

Yield Vs Multiplyer (Faktor) and How to Monitor Your Property Manager

In this short article I will define the difference between the terms “Faktor” and yield in Property investment in Germany and how you can use the “Faktor” as a tool to manage your property management and monitor the value development of your property without having to get an expensive valuation.Receiving property offers from Germany you most likely will come across the term “Faktor” meaning multiplier. It describes the rental income of a property (net rent without ancillary cost like heating) through the purchase price divided by the annual net rent. purchase price / annual net rentOften you will also get the figure for “Rendite” which is a percentage figure and the word for yield. However this term can lead to misunderstandings between parties: Is it calculated before or after purchase cost like property sales tax, is it before or after property management charges etc.? The definition should always be clarified before discussions.An active property management will have to look to raising the rent in a proper way which is legally sound and does not scare away the tenants you want to keep. One of the most used reference are rent tables which are published by local authorities for big cities. If your property manager is not keeping the rent for your property at least at the level of the rent table they are throwing away your money. Most likely they will come up with lots of reasons why it is hard to get the rent you could expect according to the rent table. If the reasons are to be found the state of the property the reasons need addressing. Otherwise you can show the damage the property manager is causing using the “Faktor” mathematics. An example:A 100 m² apartment is rented for 5.50 €/m² per month.
The rent table states an average for the building age and location of 6.50 €/m².
The “Faktor” when you bought the building was say 18.
The “damage” caused by the property manager is calculated as the difference between the actual rent and the table rent 1.00 €/m² times the rental area 100 m² times 12 months = 1,200 € — quite a figure already. But to arrive at the value you multiply this annual figure by the “Faktor” and arrive at a damage of 21,600 € just from 1.00 €/m² in one apartment.If you were to sell your property now you could get 21,600 € more without any discussion or any investment while it certainly would be nice to have the monthly income in the first place. These facts will change your position in the discussions with your property managerThe view above is on existing rental contracts only. For new rentals the impact of underselling by the management company can be much greater. In our experience the new rental price is determined by the rental agent the property management is “associated” with. The driver of this process is usually more for an easy rent and a quick commission rather than the best result for the owner.This “Faktor” method also allows you to assess easily the likely market value of your property by applying the “Faktor” and the annual net rent.This will give you an idea if your location value has not changed significantly, e.g. closing of an airport nearby or major improvement or decay of your property itself.I have shown how the “Faktor” compares to yield and how it is calculated. Furthermore I have shown how it can be utilized to monitor the performance of your property manager as well as the value development of your property. However “the devil is in the detail”, you still need to get all the information and it would most likely be more reliable if you don’t have to ask you property manager for it, only the actual figures need to come from him. Now it is up to you to take action and improve the value of your property. We offer support on every step of the way.We will shortly run a webinar on how to get your information from the Berlin Rent Table even without knowledge of the German language. Just drop me a short mail at [email protected] and you will receive an invitation.

Promote Your Business Online – You Are Insane If You Aren’t Advertising For Free Here

How much money are you losing by not promoting your business online with one of the most visited sites in the world? Did I mention it was Free!If you are selling products or services you could be missing out on the single biggest source of new business available without spending a dime.Regardless of what you sell or offer as a merchant, marketing and advertising your product or services is crucial to your success. You will naturally want to attract as many potential new customers as you can when you promote your business online.No this isn’t some new fad site that just came out. It’s Craigslist!Craigslist is ranked number 34 among all websites on the internet for traffic. If you aren’t advertising there you really need to do a reality check. It doesn’t get much better then Free.Craigslist is a great place to market yourself and your product if you have a definite strategy and stay with it. The key is consistency and adaptability.Promoting anything online is an art; one that you must learn to adapt to repeatedly as the online markets change and progress. What worked yesterday, last week, or a month ago may bring little or no hits to your website.That is why having a strategy and staying on top of the ever changing business promotions will put you well ahead of the millions of other merchants just like you struggling to survive in the online world. The first part of your strategy should be to find a creative way to advertise your business. Try targeting cities and areas and post ads to whichever section best matches your product or services.You must be willing to submit new ads after a few hours or a day to compete with the ordinary people who list the same products or services that you are offering. Every ad should be fresh and engaging. Be aware of the fact that if you post ads to one account more than once every 24 hours your ad will probably get ghosted.The amount of time spent building the text and HTML or graphics should be well thought out and planned for each venue in promoting your business online. Look to see what the competition is doing and use it for ideas.Craigslist is a great place to promote a business online if you follow the rules set up to keep people from creating spam or duplicate ads. Don’t post the same ad more than once a week, rotate carefully so as not to draw attention by other users of Craigslist who will notice if you are abusing the rules.They can be ruthless when finding someone who doesn’t conform and will flag you right off. The power to keep duplicate ads out of Craigslist is in the hands of the users through a system built specifically to flag spam.Build numerous ads and run them with a rigidness the military would want to mimic. Constantly replacing old ads with fresh ones will keep your business on top of the list. If you use picture ads I suggest that you upload them to a free photo sharing site. You can re-use picture ads if you upload the same picture with different file names.With Craigslist every new ad is placed on the top while the others are bumped down a notch. This system is in place to your advantage; make sure you’re promoting your business online daily.
The important thing to remember is that whether you are using the Craigslist or other websites to promote your business online, offering a fresh approach to products and services is one key to your success.Make a daily check list to bring in something unique if not amusing to your online marketing sources. Remember in order to stay in the eye of the cyberspace public you need to constantly change with the moment.

The Challenges of a Software Engineer

While it’s true that the engineer is also a programmer, and there are some design duties included in the core job functions, there are also some very fundamental, critical differences in the manner in which software engineers, programmers, and designers complete their work. Many engineers would also argue that there is a marked difference in the quality and performance of the products they produce as well.

Software engineer jobs take a more formal approach to the process of programming software. The manner in which engineers complete their work is much more similar to traditional engineering processes than it is to software programming or designing methods.

Software engineers are often involved in the most complex of design or programming activities. Though every day, run of the mill programs can be designed by less skilled folks, many programs can’t be trusted to just any old programmer.

For example, programs that control important processes – especially in circumstances where human lives may be lost if an error occurs in a program – are primarily the realm of highly skilled software engineers. After all, you don’t want the software that runs a key piece of medical equipment or that which drives the operating system of a nuclear submarine to fail.

This is perhaps the most challenging aspect of design engineer jobs with which incumbents must constantly contend. They are tasked with ensuring the smooth and efficient operations of incredibly complex and sometimes frightening processes with computer enhanced systems.

Design engineers are tasked not only with creating a software program that will serve the basic needs of a business, organization, or other client, but they must also foresee the potential pitfalls associated with the program as well. They must be able to grasp the technological concepts of the methods or practices with which the program is intended to interface and design the software appropriately for the highly technical, and often potentially dangerous, environment in which it will be used.

Although the average programmer or designer may be able to afford a few minor glitches, for those working in design engineer jobs, there is often no such thing as a minor glitch. Of the software fails, the consequences can be great. The pressure that design engineers face on a daily basis is tremendous for this very reason.

Software engineers also face some other unique challenges in the IT world. They must often complete a lot more paperwork than most IT professionals. Once again remaining true to the engineering trade, software engineers will draft designs, test them for quality, integrity and performance, and will frequently redesign them several times before moving from paper or prototypes to the real deal. In fact, many of those who work in software engineer jobs will spend as much as 70 – 80% of their time dealing with paperwork and only 20 – 30% actually writing code for the software itself.