Branding? You are the message!

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Let's face it, the lines between b-to-b and b-to-c marketing tactics are gone. Twitter feeds combine professional and personal tweets. Prospects are as likely to be tapping out a personal email on their smartphone as responding to your webcast invite. In short, even in b-to-b marketing, we're all being measured against a much higher bar that's backed up by the b-to-c marketing budgets of companies like Apple, P&G and Target.

At Mandiant, we're growing fast in an even more rapidly changing market. As we refresh and update our messaging and branding (new website, blog, creative, and everything that comes with these changes), we've been asking ourselves a key question: Is it more important to lead with what your products do, or who you are and what you stand for?

For us the answer has been simple. We have a vibrant culture and strong personalities. For companies like ours, marketing's job should be to listen. What do your customer-facing employees say? How do they say it? What don't they say? Capture and amplify the best conversations that are taking place on the front lines and you'll create a powerful brand. Messaging that's “unnatural” can't be dictated from the top. It may live on your website, but it will crumble at the first contact with the customer.

While we're still several weeks away from formally launching our new messaging and branding, we're already seeing great results. On the social media front, our Klout scores are strong, and registration numbers for our webcasts have tripled in the last quarter, and they keep growing.

While marketing can't take all of the credit, it's clear that, as a company, we're succeeding at building genuine relationships that our customers value. And it's those relationships and conversations that we'll be amplifying further when we launch our new Web properties and creative. So … with a little luck the next time our prospect's thumb is choosing between clicking on the latest free shipping offer from Pottery Barn and our latest eBook, we've got a fighting chance.

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