Learning from the Best

This month I was absolutely delighted (and fortunate) to join nearly 40 very talented and passionate B2B marketers at a beautiful venue in the Spanish countryside for 5 days of learning, team work and fun.


Since the start of 2015, M&a has been BBN Australia, exclusively representing BBN in Australia and also in several other APAC countries.

Every year, representatives from all BBN agencies gather for two events – Conference and Academy. The Conference sees owners, managing directors and senior strategists from the agencies gather to discuss strategy, marketing trends, challenges and growth. Academy is more of an education and sharing environment, where agency team members get to learn in depth about BBN methodologies and put them to test with team exercises.

This year’s Academy was preceded by a two-day, in-depth and intense, structured training session around one of BBN’s flagship methodologies – Brand Asset Management (BAM) – which is part of BBN Navigator, the world’s only, truly integrated B2B marketing toolset.

Don’t let the name confuse you

When I first read about Brand Asset Management, the first thing that came to mind was logos, colour schemes and brand guidelines. What I learned during these two days is that BAM is so much more than that. BAM is a B2B strategic roadmap, that has been developed and refined for over 10 years now.

Consisting of 5 modules with nearly 50 individual tools, BAM can assist organisations if they are (as a few examples):

  • Introducing an existing product into a new channel or new market
  • Addressing the disconnect between sales and marketing messaging
  • Losing market share to disruption or competition
  • Wanting to be more consistent with internal and external messaging and visual communications

The BAM processes helps organisations by answering these fundamental questions:

  • Where are we and why?
  • Where do we want to be?
  • What role should each offering play?
  • Who is our audience and what do they need?
  • How do we align and guide?

During the two days of BAM model training, led by the ultimate BAM experts Rodger Jones and Curtis Gorrell, we learned how to break each BAM model down and understand it’s purpose & how to execute that module, were shown a real life example of the module and tools in action and then were set lose to practice the methodology on a real life client.

But Bronwyn, I don’t set strategy for my company, how can BAM help me?

For many marketers, this is the honest and stark reality. Whilst BAM is a strategic process, it can also be a discovery journey that can help B2B organisations in many ways…especially when it comes to briefing your creative team/agency better.

Anyone who has ever worked with a creative team will know they love nothing better than a world class brief and the BAM tools help marketers identify the essential strategic elements and information necessary to create these briefs.

Strategy planning is about giving up, rather than adding to

Whenever you go through a strategic process, don’t be tempted to add to whatever brand/product/issue you are working through. This is the time for refinement and consolidation, not addition and confusion.

When it doubt, differentiate

Anyone who has been through methodology process will know that it can sometimes lead to a time where you look at a brainstorm, key words, mind map – whatever – and you stand back and look at it and think “so what”? What makes us different? What is going to set us apart? Why should our customers care? What am I going to say next?

The one piece of advice that really stuck in my head from the BAM training was “When it doubt, differentiate.”

We *all* have that unique property that makes us different. The tools in BAM help identify what that is.

Woo hoo! We won!

Awards for brilliant B2B marketing campaigns are hard to come by. Unless you have a mutli-million dollar campaign that goes viral, it’s hard to compete against the big boys of B2C campaigns.

BBN recognised this and have created the “Golden Bees”, an awards process that is exclusive to BBN agencies and recognises the best of the best in B2B marketing across 11 different categories.

This year BBN Australia picked up two Golden Bees, one for best website and one for best idea never executed.

BBN is made of up of amazingly talented people

During Academy, we were divided into teams and given a customer brief that we had to apply not only the BAM methodology to, but also several other BBN processes, including Creative Toolbox and C-Map (BBN’s proprietary process for multi-channel connection).

We had about a day of group task time to come up with a 30 minute strategic creative pitch, that included addressing buyer personas, GTM ideas, content and measurement.

And you know what…the three teams absolutely nailed it! All three presentations were 100% client facing, real life pitch worthy and all could have been executed immediately.

We were all so dedicated and passionate about this exercise, we had to remind ourselves at several points that it wasn’t a real pitch!

Not bad for a group of people who had only really just met, all from different backgrounds from different agencies all over the world, with different skill sets.

To me, this proved two things:

  1. When correctly applied, the various BBN methodologies are quite simply incredible.
  2. Damn, my fellow BBN peeps are smart!

If you’d like to learn more about any of the methodologies I’ve touched on in this post, or about BBN in general, please don’t hesitate to reach out!

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