"From younger Millennials to Gen Z...they are all increasingly placing an emphasis on working with brands who share their values," says Purna Virji, a former journalist who has led programs for Microsoft and now works at LinkedIn as a content strategist and senior content solutions consultant.

You could say she knows what she's talking about. And Marketing Smarts was lucky enough to have her as a guest.

Brand DNA has multiple sides to it, she explains: "You have your customer brand, which is how your consumers and how your partners feel.... Then you have your talent brand, which is how your employees and prospective new hires think about you as a place to work. Then you have your corporate brand, which involves how your key stakeholders like influencers, investors, government orgs perceive your organization."

Everyone can name a company that has great products but also has horror stories revolving around its employment practices. Likewise, some companies are great places to work, but it's hard to get excited about their product. The brands that win are those that focus on both areas and wholly shape their brand DNA, Purna says.

The episode also dives into why drawing from a larger bank of ideas for content marketing is more appealing than shooting out straight product updates and news all the time. Watch it now: 

Don't miss any future episodes: Subscribe to the Marketing Smarts Live Show on YouTube. And to catch up on all previous episodes, check out the show's YouTube playlist.

Editor's note: This episode of the Marketing Smarts Live Show, produced by MarketingProfs and its Marketing Smarts Podcast, was the inaugural episode of YouTube-based series, which began airing in June 2022. 

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Episode Details, Guest Information, and Referenced Links

Episode No. 1 

Guest's social media profiles:

 MarketingProfs articles referenced in the show:

"In B2B News" article referenced in the show:

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Brand & Trust: Becoming a Trusted B2B Voice [Full Transcript]

This rough transcript is machine-generated. It's been only minimally edited by humans.

George B. Thomas: All right. We are going live for the first time. Well, not the first time ever in life, but the first time for the Marketing Smarts Live. That's right. The Marketing Smarts Live Show. Super excited about getting it on today. Listen, there's a couple things here. And again, welcome to the first episode of the Marketing Sports Live Show.

We've had a podcast for years, and I mean years. And so if you haven't checked out the Marketing Smarts podcast, you should definitely do that. Recently I became the host of that, and in that we decided that we're going to also do a live show here on YouTube because you hopefully will get to know me and know that I love video and I love YouTube.

And I love creating content and value for people just like you, B2B marketers. Now, today's topic that we're gonna cover is actually two words: brand and trust. And they're sometimes synonymous and individually great. And they're definitely things that we as B2B marketers should be focusing on.

Since this is the first show, let's talk a little bit about the structure and also the fact that you can definitely engage by leaving a comment in the question pane in the comments section.

Let us know how you think about different topics that we're covering. Let us know if you have questions about the things that we're talking about. Totally, totally open to having conversations during this.

But the show structure: obviously we'll do a little bit of an intro; we'll probably end up adding some music at the beginning once we get this rolling; and we'll talk about our setup, the conversation for the day, like for instance today, brand and trust. We're also gonna then have either live guests or clips from guests that we've had on the podcast, and not audio clips, but video clips where you'll get to see and hear the guests. We'll kind of gonna go both ways depending upon the guest scheduling and all that stuff.

We're gonna have a section, In the News, where we're actually gonna give you different articles. I'll explain kind of how that works as we move forward. We're gonna have three different sections of the actual guest that will be on the show—again, either in a video or regular in live human beings. Then we're also gonna have content from the Marketing Profs blog section; this is where we curate content that goes around the topic that we're talking about for that day.

And then, you know what, after that we're gonna talk about community: Y'all—you people. That's right. We're gonna be paying attention to the hashtag #mpb2b and we're gonna be pulling people in and I got a special one today without a doubt. But we're gonna be pulling people into that information. We're gonna end the podcast with some words of wisdom, and after the words of wisdom, we're gonna go to the outro.

So that is kind of the structure as we move forward in the future live shows: Marketing Smarts Live.

Brand and Trust in B2B Marketing

When you think about brand and trust as a B2B marketer, what are your thoughts? Again, you can, if you're watching the replay or watching live, let us know in the comments. What do you think pertaining to the words brand and trust as a B2B marketer?

You know, recently I started this podcast journey with the Marketing Sports podcast and I have had the opportunity to interview a bunch of smart people and can't wait to interview a bunch of smart people in the future, and the topics that we're covering are absolutely amazing.

The first podcast interview, what I actually got to do was with Purna Virji, and we chatted about how to become a trusted voice in the sustainability conversation. Now, inside of that larger conversation, we talked about these two things—about trust and brand and, more importantly, online trust in the way that people are interacting with our B2B businesses and in general.

And I found it interesting how, when Purna was talking about this, how she actually mentioned that trust in business bridges generational gaps. Sometimes we get stuck in who we are, how we are, the point in life in which we are. Sometimes not realizing there are other people at other ages and demographics and all that that we have to pay attention to.

And so when Purna mentioned this trust in business bridges generational gaps, I was like, this is amazing. And we're actually gonna play a little teaser clip to get you going on when Purna actually mentioned this. So let's go ahead and watch that.

Purna Virji: We've seen time and time again that the most trusted organizations, the ones that make a difference to their consumers' lives or within society, are the ones that get rewarded with more business, more loyalty, more recommendations, you name it. We see this being especially important with the next generations. If you look from younger Millennials to even Gen Z, the growing next business important generation, they are all increasingly placing an emphasis on working with brands who share their values. I think trust is getting more important and not less.

George B. Thomas: Ooh, trust is getting more important and not less. And we have to be focused on a way: How can we build trust? We're gonna talk a little bit more about brand DNA and trust triangle around this conversation of trust.

In the News: Martech Stack Considerations

But first In the News is the section that I want to get to and In the News is where we're gonna, again, talk about breaking news.

But here's what we do. We head into the Google News tab cuz it's breaking news and we look at related B2B business items. Now this could be something that is truly breaking news. It might be like a fantastic tip, again, depending on if there's a lot of B2B breaking news and not. Then we'll kind of  go with this section of the show.

Today's In the News: the conversation is all about your tech stack, and more importantly your martech stack. And I want you to stop and think, because, again, we get busy in life as B2B marketers, and sometimes we don't actually stop, pause, diagnose, and look at the things that we may have purchased along the way.

And what I mean by that is how big is your martech stack? Like, is it documented somewhere? And more importantly, do you know, or have you had a process that you followed when you're actually adding on to purchasing that shiny new tool that we just have to have as B2B marketers? Well, this week's article, I found it very interesting, somewhat fascinating.

It's from Martech Series where they talked about marketing technology insights and the article is four things to consider before investing in a new Martech—and again, the links to these articles will be down in the description, you'll be able to click on everything and go read at a deeper level and learn more. Heck on some of them, you'll be able to even go and listen. But in this one, the four things to consider before investing in new martech. And here's a couple things.

One, they say, how will your organization additionally benefit from the tool? I have a buddy who talks about how most companies will purchase their martech stack. He likes to hire. There's a big difference when you think about hiring versus purchasing that you put your mind through. And so what are the additional benefits that you're gonna get from the tool?

And are those benefits in another tool? And if you buy this new shiny tool, should it be, you know, the sunset of another one? Or do they actually mix together and merge? Is it gonna be an integration type scenario that you're gonna run into for your B2B? They also talk about do you have the right marketing ops process and might I add person in place as well?

One of the things that is happening in a lot of conversations that I'm having with folks in the industry, clients that I'm working with, is a lot of their martech stack is getting to the point where they need an admin. Used to be back in the day, you had a couple pieces of software. You just kind of did your thing as a marketer. Now people are talking about having an admin, or at least having an ops, rev ops, sales ops, marketing ops process in place to understand where this new shiny martech tool fits in. They also talk about if you're in a compliant type situation, is the tool compliant with the latest regulations?

I don't have to tell you. As a marketer, things are always changing. I mean, the road that we've gone through from GDPR and California and whatever's coming next, like so are the makers of it paying attention to regulations? Are you gonna buy a tool that potentially gets you in trouble?

You want to definitely watch out for that. And then separating the essentials from the good-to-haves in your own mind. I like to equate this to a kind of best case, worst case scenario almost in life, but in your martech stack it's literally what do we need to have, what are the essentials, and don't get kind of sold by these like additional frilly kind of things that you might see but maybe nobody's even gonna ever use in your business. Now that was In the News: Your martech stack, are you paying attention to it? Links will be in the description below.

Brand DNA

Now let's get back to this conversation around Purna.

And the very interesting thing that she started to talk about—that you have to start focusing on building trust and being a company that fundamentally focuses on building trust in every action with your prospects: Every lead, every customer you have to pay attention to—this word (or words) that she used, your "brand DNA." And this is something that Purna talked about in our Marketing Smarts podcast episode, and it was very intriguing to me.

So let's go ahead and play that clip. Listen to what she had to say, and at the same time as you're listening to this clip, try to envision your company and its brand DNA or lack thereof or the things that maybe you have or haven't paid attention to when it comes to this.

Purna Virji: Brand DNA is essentially the very essence of who you are. Let's break that down. Every organization really is made up of three core dimensions, and they're all different aspects of your brand that come together to really resonate with your overall audience.

Think about this. You have your customer brand, which is how your consumers and how your partners feel about your brand. Then you have your talent brand, which is how your employees and prospective new hires think about you as a place to work. Then you have your corporate brand, which involves how your key stakeholders like influencers, investors, government orgs perceive your organization.

If you lay over all of those three, the overlapping area, the core, the heart of it is your brand DNA. It's the reason why you exist, it's what sets you apart. Focus on that. Especially in a conversation like sustainability, which has both rational and emotional overtones, you want to be able to communicate this consistently through a blended content journey that reaches all three of these core audiences.

George B. Thomas: So, yeah, all three. And so first of all, let's just back up 50,000 feet and ask the question, Do you know your brand DNA? Um, if you don't and you haven't kind of paid attention to these things, one of the things I'd love to do on this live show in moving forward and on the podcast is give you actionable items.

Building a brand DNA, understanding the intersection or overlapping of the things of your customer brand. How does the consumer feel, talent, brand, your employees, and future talent, and that corporate brand level that Purna talked about to try to figure out your brand DNA is the next step. And listen, if you wanna dive deeper into that segment and what Purna unlocks or unpacks there, again head over to the Marketing Smarts Podcast link in the description below.

As Purna was talking about this brand DNA, though, my mind started to think about the word trust and building trust. And I have to ask, how often in your daily work do you think about or talk with your coworkers about how do we build trust with our customers? And trust comes in a couple different things, right?

It comes in things actually being the way that they should. It comes in special areas where you kind of delight. It comes in that, that's, um, Major success in communication. So there's a couple lanes that your brain can go on when you start to think about this building trust, and we'll get back to that trust conversation with Purna in a few seconds.

Related Articles From MarketingProfs

But I mentioned delight, communication, and honestly that's a great segue for the next section in today's episode, which is the marketing profs blog. That's right. We're digging in and this is where we curate information. We look at the treasure trove of valuable information and pull out two pieces.

Maybe sometimes three. Like if I can find three, I'm gonna give it to you. But for today, two pieces of gold to help you be a better B2B marketer. And since we're talking about brand and trust in today's show, two words again kind of come to mind. And that's delight and nurture or communicate. And actually, with nurturing, it could be communication and other things.

But the first thing that I wanna look at, the first article is actually how to spark customer delight. And so how to spark customer delight by Jamie Gier. And this is fun. We've all heard of things like, oh man, there was this amazing 404 page. Or did you see their Contact Us page? And this article is exactly what will help you kind of find those hidden places where you can, or unexpected places where you can show or give delight to the customer.

So in this article Jamie talks about the 404. The About Page landing pages, social media, newsletters, infographics, there's a bunch of stuff. And what's fun is you can read it or, check this out, because on the MarketingProfs page you can listen to the article as well. So if you wanna sip your coffee, sip your tea, sip whatever beverages that you wanna sip, and you want to actually listen to the article, you can now—again, the easiest way to get to these articles and into more information.

Let's go ahead and talk about the second article for today. And that is three ways to never stop dating your customer, three ways to nurture relationships. Now, this one to me is really, really interesting because we talk about never stop communicating.

This is so true. When I think about marketing automation and the B2B space, this could be process automation, but more importantly, especially if we're tying it into communication, it literally could be this lead nurturing or customer delighting. Communication, you know, through automated emails in a sequence over a certain amount of time. But really what's interesting, and I've seen this over the past 60, 90 days, some of the conversations that I've been having with other marketers is this idea of text or texting or SMS, and I cannot tell you the amount of marketers I've seen do some type of integration to whatever CRM platform they're using to be able to communicate via text.

As the article here says, posting 95% open rate you know, texting might make sense for you. And your business. But the idea here is dive into both of those articles. Never stop dating your customers: three ways to nurture relationships, and how to spark customer delight in unexpected places.

Both of those hopefully will trigger some ideas for you on how you can start to build trust, right? How you can actually leak in some of your brand awesomeness into these areas, into these things. Whether it be communication automation, whether it be on certain pages, but kind of holistic look of, Hey, we've got a—and I'm kind of making this up on the fly, right?—we've got a trust strategy.

Do you have a trust strategy for your business? I might have to write something about that to be honest with you.

The Trust Triangle

But here's the thing: Purna kept digging in deeper into this kind of conversation around trust, around brand. And she said these words, and I'll tell you as a nerdy marketer, my ears perked up and she said these words: trust triangle.

I was like, This needs to be pulled out of the podcast. People need to hear about this, how to build a trust plan, how to have a trust triangle, and so let's go ahead and watch that right now.

Purna Virji: Some incredibly brilliant researchers had broken down that there are three core elements of trust when it comes to audiences and organizations. It really falls down into three areas, which are authenticity, empathy, and logic. If you can shine in these three core areas, that's how you can really connect and allow people to get to your core brand DNA.

It's so important. I can't stress this enough. We can't be siloed anymore. Marketers, HR people, your consumers, your prospective hires, it's all merging. We all want to work for the company whose products we really love and like, and we know that they're a good and trusted company to work for. These are the brands that do well….

What it comes down to is to go beyond corporate jargon, go beyond the expected post, and show the heart of who you are as a brand and talk about why you exist. Peel back the layers, because if you don't do it on your own, consumers are going to do this for you.

Time and again, we're seeing companies digging deeper. You can say, "I believe in diversity and inclusion," or, "I believe in sustainable manufacturing practices." People are going to go and check out your board. Are you really diverse? People are going to go and dive into some of your manufacturing practices. We are no longer just willing to accept things at face value. People care. There is such a genuine increase in what people are concerned about. It just takes a couple of clicks to get to the heart.

When you're talking about things, there is so much content that you are competing with every single day. What do they say? You're scrolling 300 feet a day just on your phone alone. What's going to stand out? Certainly not the corporate jargon or the sea of sameness that everyone else is talking about because it's the safe thing to do.

George B. Thomas: The sea of sameness. Oh my gosh. I was like, Yes, yes, please, let's battle against that.

And then, 300 feet a day scrolling. Mind blown. That is crazy. But yeah, my thumb probably agrees with that. More importantly though was the trust triangle, and whether you're creating a video, whether you're creating a blog, article, whatever content you're creating, actually, whatever conversation you're having.

I would almost suggest, are you asking yourself these things? Is it authentic? Is it empathetic? And is it logical? Because those are the three things that built the trust triangle, authentic, empathetic, and logical.

And I love that Purna mentioned these are not just buzzwords, like this is not just lip service, but these are the things that you can pull out the tools and use to battle against that sea of sameness that she mentions.

This Week From the Community

Oh my gosh. You know, who's not in the sea of sameness? That's the MP B2B community, y'all. And we like to search far and wide in that hashtag, in that universe if you will, to find amazing information and conversations to bring to the masses. So first, make sure you're using that hashtag moving forward. Hashtag mpb2b.

Second, make sure you have fun and add value to the community. And then at some point we'll probably spotlight you or your crew on the show.

Now, this week's From the Community is from Twitter, and it's from our good friend Ann Handley. Yes. It's kind of cheating, but it made sense as soon as I saw it and I know you're thinking, George, come on, come on. Hey, trust me, this is important and you're gonna wanna know about it.

There's two reasons why it actually made it into the show today:

  1. There's a dope video attached; link in the description below. These people are people, you know, it's a song, you know, it's very creative. I laughed my butt off. I laughed several times watching this video, so that's one reason why I was in there.
  2. And then events are back, baby. Can I get an amen in the chat pane or a thumbs up in the chat pane if you're excited to get back to an event, to go do an event. And so make sure you check out the B2B Forum this October, and that's exactly what this tweet was about.

Concluding Words of Wisdom

Now here's the thing: Purna—the whole interview was super amazing. One of the things that I like to do, and one of the ways that will end most of these Marketing Smarts Live Shows, is with some words of wisdom because words of wisdom are worth gold. It's literally the words out of somebody's mind that has traveled a path before us or knows things that we don't know.

And one of the things that, you know, I always try to do in life is learn from those around me. If you're a Trekkie (I don't know if I have any Trekkies in the room), it's a little bit of like stealing out of that borg mentality: Surround myself with these types of people and try to learn as much from their brains as humanly possible because the brain power of many is definitely stronger than the brain power of one.

At the end of the marketing sports podcast, I asked Purna what words of wisdom she would share with the B2B marketers of the world. And here's what she had to say.

Purna Virji: So often we'll hear from content marketers around the world that there's only so many hours in a day, there's only limited resources, we're exhausted, how do we consistently come up with content to be always on. I want to please reassure you that you can reuse, you can recycle, you can build your own sustainable content strategy. Sustainable for you, not to do with the climate.

Reshare. If something was done really well in the past, remix it into a different format and share it, or reshare the exact same thing a few months later, maybe with something updated. Edelman Trust Barometer Report, they come out once a year, it's super successful. They don't do it 10 times a year because it is successful.

Do your research, understand what your audience wants. Create something once that will be great, reshare it, remix it. Curate versus create all the time. There are a lot of ways that you can remix and reuse to not be working all the time but have your content be working all the time.

George B. Thomas: That's right. Your content working all the time.

And this has been a fun journey. I can't believe almost 28 minutes has passed. We're trying to keep these marketing smarts lives to about 30 minutes. You can get in, get out, get the curated content, the information, hopefully the fun and enjoyment of the show and the guests that we have on.

Hey, make sure you check out the link below for the full podcast with Purna Virji. It is absolutely amazing. These were just a couple little clips out of it.

If you got value out of today's live show, hit that like and share it with a friend.

That's really what we'd like you to do to keep learning more. Make sure you hit that subscribe button. Watch additional videos here on the MarketingProfs channel. Or again, go check out the original podcast episode.

You know what I want you to do? I want you to go listen, go for a walk. Go on a plane. I don't know. Eat 'em on a box. Eat 'em with a fox. Actually, you're not eating anything, but listen on a box or with a fox. I'm just gonna be done here…

Anyway, keep learning more, and as always remember to be a happy, helpful, humble human. And we'll see you in the next, that's right, the next. This is the first of many Marketing Smarts Live. Next week, same bat time, same bat channel. Enjoy the rest of your day.

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image of George B. Thomas

George B. Thomas is a marketer, video Jedi, and HubSpot certified trainer with 25+ years of sales and marketing experience. George is owner and HubSpot Helper at georgebthomas.com. He has a record-breaking 38 HubSpot sales, marketing, service, CRM, and CMS certifications. George harnesses his expertise in graphic design, Web development, video editing, social media marketing, and inbound marketing to partner with, teach, and develop solutions for companies looking to develop their businesses and increase their revenue.

LinkedIn: George B. Thomas

Twitter: @GeorgeBThomas