The world of B2B branding is more tangible than B2C branding, but the basic components are the same. Entrepreneur’s Jim Joseph says, “Marketing is all about the kind of experience you deliver to your customers with each and every interaction.” Joseph asserts that each experience builds your brand in customers’ minds. Therefore, your brand is the sum of the experiences your customers remember. In our experience, you can consciously decide to create positive, memorable experiences by following five practices.

1) Deciding Your Brand

Decide what your brand will be. First, consider the kind of brand your customers want and the kind of experiences you can realistically create. Joseph says, “Without both totality and tonality, you won’t have a great brand experience, and without a great brand experience, you’re just another product.” You want to give your customers the best experience possible, but if you’re neither willing nor able to create that experience, then it’s not the right brand for your business. Choose a brand that you can create through every experience you provide to your customers.

2) Shaping Your Brand

You must consciously shape every point of contact to ensure that every interaction reinforces your brand. Joseph calls this “totality” and says, “If the experience isn't complete and consistent, the totality won’t be effective in creating customer loyalty.” If, for example, your sales department delivers a promise that tempts new customers into doing business with your company, but the service department fails to follow through on the promise, then you have failed to build brand loyalty. The only thing your customers will remember is the poor service, not the great sales experience. Every point of contact has to work together to create a total brand experience that is consistent with your intentions.

3) Testing Your Brand

Once you've designed your brand experience, you have to test it. Your test should look beyond the mechanics to ensure the authenticity of your brand. Joseph says, “Tonality is about the spirit of the experience. It should also be in line with how you have defined your brand and with what you know your customers want.” You are trying to create an emotional connection that backs up the value that keeps your customers loyal to your brand.

4) Enforcing Your Brand

Every customer experience influences your brand, so it may be tempting to enforce the brand you've designed using a Theory X approach. The stakes are too high to trust employees that might bungle the job, but you must recognize that employees have the power to sabotage your efforts. Joseph says, “As soon as one element of your marketing falls out of step with the rest, you put the brand in jeopardy with your customers.” A more flexible Theory Y approach enforces the capabilities, not the behaviors, of your employees. This empowers them to willingly and consistently create the experiences you promise your customers, which is far more effective than brute force.

5) Communicating Your Brand

Every time you make contact with your customers you communicate your brand. If the messages sent by actual interactions are inconsistent with your claims, then your customer loyalty will lag. Joseph says, “This includes engaging with your customers through the various ways they live their lives.” Everything you say, from social media to in-store displays, makes a difference. Authentic marketing communications can reinforce the positive memories you've created, but first you must create positive experiences worth remembering.

Over the years, we've seen a lot of branding attempts fail because insufficient attention was spent on creating the desired experience. If you follow these steps to actively assert your brand, we’re confident that you’ll achieve the brand you want by shaping the experiences your customers remember most. Successful branding doesn't happen overnight, but if you follow these steps, the brand you create can last a lifetime.