Ask anyone who has even a passing interest in New Orleans brass bands and they will tell you they know of The Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Ask pretty much anyone else, and you’re likely to get a shrug of the shoulders were you to mention their band name. You see, fame’s a funny thing really isn’t it. We all know of the type of fame you see in your Pacino’s, Beckham’s, and Beyonce’s of the world. But what’s easily forgotten is that there is a different type of fame – what we might call ‘niche fame’.
Being famous in this way doesn’t mean everyone in the world needs to know you. Niche fame means you are famous within a specific segment of people – be that based around a geographic area, niche market, business sector, or a shared interest in New Orleans brass bands for that matter.
Moving into the world of business, there seems to be a misconception that becoming famous is an ambition solely reserved for large B2C brands – your Coca Cola’s, Apple’s, and Amazon’s of the world. But some of the most well-known brands are actually B2B brands. Think about how many of these brands you know of, and whether you’d considered they are B2B brands:
Eddie Stobart and, unfortunately today
Now, these are B2B brands that achieved general fame (some globally, others in specific countries), but the idea of niche fame is just as valid for B2B businesses as anything else. As a B2B business, you are likely to have a target industry and/or audience role from which you look for business. Your aim should be to become famous within the segment of people that make up your target. Create a shared meaning for which you are known and remembered by your target audience.
We will all have many examples of ‘niche fame’ from the B2B world, but one example I can share is that of a type foundry called Dalton Maag. Back in a previous life I ran a design & branding studio, and one of the essential kit of parts in the elements you have to play with when designing a new brand identity is a typeface. Now typefaces can be sourced from many places, but back when I was designing it was common knowledge in the industry that one of the best places to go for typefaces, and typography advice, was Dalton Maag. From direct mail to advertising in industry publications, editorial pieces to talks, Dalton Maag made sure they were seen and known by their target audience. Still active to this day, they continue to be ‘niche famous’ with their target audience.
Too many B2B businesses take the approach that they just need to do sales, and don’t really look to grow any level of fame. The perception that fame and brand awareness is just for B2C brands seems to persist. But if you work in B2B, think how much easier it would be for your sales team if your target audience is already aware of your brand.
Even though you have a B2B offering, go where your target audience is – the channels they’re active on, the media or content they ‘consume’ – and work to get yourselves niche famous. Be seen, grab attention, and be remembered.
To every B2B business out there, your brand can be your most valuable business asset. Make your brand niche famous, and make winning new business easier.
And to anyone who’s never heard of The Dirty Dozen Brass Band before, check them out. You might like them.
Contributed to Branding Strategy Insider by: Paul Bailey, Strategy Director at Halo
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