Not For the Masses
Every company wants to climb the Sales Learning Curve — a model for establishing and ramping up a sales force and increasing sales yield — faster. But few focus on branding as a way to accomplish that. In fact, a laser-focused brand is a critical driver of your sales reps’ ramp-up and revenue growth. It sounds risky to create a brand and launch a product based on the needs of a very defined group. But it might just be a better approach to branding and marketing.
The Laser-Focused Branding of PubMatic
Take the company, PubMatic. Before contacting Emotive Brand, PubMatic had spent years trying to serve everyone in the ad-tech ecosystem. We helped them see that laser focus on a specific kind of customer would help them both create a stronger, more compelling brand, and clarify their business strategy. PubMatic chose to double down on publishers: this group struggled more than any other to keep up with ever-evolving digital advertising technology and to stay relevant. So we developed an Emotive Brand strategy for PubMatic that repositioned PubMatic away from ad-tech and to a marketing automation platform designed for publishers. While this approach intentionally left some potential customers on the sidelines, it’s paid off. PubMatic has had quarter over quarter revenue growth ever since they narrowed their focus.
Laser-Focused Branding and Getting to the Heart of It
The job of sales and marketing is to show how your products solve customers’ pain. As the PubMatic case shows, while a product may be relevant to many potential customers, narrowing your focus to beachhead customers — those accounts where the product-market fit is strongest — may be the best way to boost your brand. (Sequoia Capital, by the way, has a great piece on how companies create “sales ready products” and dives into beachhead customers in greater depth.) If you can’t get the attention of beachhead customers, you’ll struggle to gain traction and sales will come slowly. In cybersecurity, for instance, financial institutions are often early adopters of new technology. If a security company chose to laser focus its brand just on this group, it would likely uncover a list of common objections and learn which features matter — or don’t — to most financial services companies. Beachhead customers might not care about the same things as your wider customer base, but when you double down on the capabilities and features that really matter to them, you can increase the rate at which you climb the Sales Learning Curve.
Just naming beachhead customers or industry, of course, isn’t enough. You’ve got to have an intimate understanding of who they are and what matters to them. Our Customer Journey Mapping process is about deep customer research. We help companies understand the role a product and brand plays in individuals’ lives and then optimize the brand around this customer experience. The result is a brand that holds meaning in people’s lives.
Sales Comes Into the Picture
Brand strategy and positioning answers integral questions like: Why does your product matter? Why does it matter now? How is it different and better than what competitors are doing now? Sales teams answer these questions every day. This is why our brand strategy work, if possible, always includes involving a company’s sales team. We don’t like to take Sales out of the field unnecessarily, but we try to leverage enough people so that the resulting brand strategy benefits from their front-line experiences. And once we have a new positioning and messaging, we often conduct training sessions with sales teams.
It’s easy to want to deliver everything that any of your potential customers desire. But when you target a well-defined customer group’s needs, you have to decide what your brand will support — and what it won’t. Laser-focused branding helps you more quickly pinpoint what matters most to customers which, in turn, strengthens your brand.
Emotive Brand is a San Francisco brand strategy and design agency.