The Importance of B2B Branding

Not too long ago brand positioning was seen as a crucial component for B2C companies, with very little consideration for B2B businesses.

It’s easy to think of a B2B company as a company that provides services that are ‘needed’ rather than wanted and so it becomes about your product or service rather than your brand values. But what happens when you’re in an industry in which your product or service is no different than your closest competitors? In many cases, marketers believe that the price was the only distinguishable factor driving the B2B decision making process, however, this then spurs the inevitable race to the bottom - a race that nobody can win. 

However, in recent years, the narrative has changed, as marketers now understand that branding is an equally crucial distinguishing factor for B2B companies - almost as much as it is for B2C businesses. Branding should form the bedrock of your organisation’s B2B sales and marketing strategy.

 
The Importance of B2B Branding

Why several B2B companies think brand-building isn’t important

Many B2B business owners make the mistake of thinking that strong branding isn’t that necessary for their businesses. Most B2B organisations (especially those in the medium size categories) give little attention to branding because they erroneously assume B2B branding isn’t necessary for driving sales performances.

 

Marketers believed that the price was the only distinguishable factor driving the B2B decision-making process, however, this then spurs the inevitable race to the bottom - a race that nobody can win. ”

For B2B companies that focus on keeping their lights on, accomplishing their orders, and meeting customer demands, branding-building seems to distract them from their daily activities. To these business owners, what really matters is their products’ superiority, the efficiency of their salesforce, and competitive pricing. In a way, a business won't survive without having a handle on these aspects, but equal consideration should be given to brand value. This is because a strong brand can overcome shortcomings in these areas. 

For example, In a B2C buying scenario, we’ve often seen that purchasers often buy into a brand rather than the technical specifications of the product they’re buying. For example, Apple IPhones are notoriously poor for battery life, but the IPhone is still the best selling phone in the world. This buying behaviour is also now true for B2B services. For example, you may use a particular haulage company to deliver your products based on knowing their brand rather than how effective their service is.

The B2B perspective of branding

It’s true that when well-structured and executed, branding is a vital weapon in the arsenal of any B2B organisation – this has the potential to gain advantage over a competing brand.

The question is: why is B2B branding often ignored? We believe that it’s more a question of how B2B companies see their customers. It’s easy for B2B businesses to view their customers as pragmatists whose behaviours are not impacted by marketing or the ‘emotive’ elements that drive a sale. Consequently, branding is not given an equal scale of importance as seen in B2C organisations, and thanks to this, the B2B perspective of branding is often misunderstood.

The reality of branding - you have a brand whether you think so or not 

The fact remains that all business-to-business (B2B) organisations have brands, regardless of whether they need them or not. In reality, a brand entails the sum of customers’ views and perceptions of the business based on their personal experiences. How your customers see or interact with your business is what makes or breaks a sale so on this logic, it’s worth ensuring that your ‘brand,’ or how your business is perceived, is as good as it can be. 

When your potential customer is considering your business over another, the decision can be influenced by an aspect that you’re very much unaware of. For example, the business may have a particular allegiance with a social goal such as reducing carbon footprint and emissions. If your business and brand values don’t align with this (or are perceived not to), then you lose the advantage over your competitor who clearly promotes this as a brand value. 

The impact of a strong B2B brand. 

When your B2B branding is fully thought about and implemented, your business will be well-positioned to take advantage of the opportunities that a well-perceived brand has over those that don't - much the same as in a B2C context:

- A brand has significant value in its own right, demanding a value for the ‘good-will’ offered. This can really affect the value of your business should you choose to sell or be acquired. 

- A brand that has achieved great brand perception and leaves a positive impression on customers can often charge more for their service. In the same way that Iphones are the most expensive phones, your buyer understands that he / she is paying a premium for the brand value.

- A well established brand can create brand loyalty, putting it in good standing for future product or service releases. It’s often said that the cost of keeping a customer is much lower than the cost of acquiring a new customer, so this can increase profits. 

- If a business has succeeded in making a customer loyal to its brand rather than its products, there is a small chance of competitors poaching your clients.

- A good brand provides a safety net in the face of a setback. For example, if there is a security breach or a problem with a service, a strong brand tends to offer a leniency and resilience to these issues.

- A strong, well known brand often attracts top talent - so you can expect your workforce to grow in competence. 

A well crafted brand allows you to set the narrative for how your customers experience your products and services instead of leaving it to chance. If you want to discuss B2B branding, give our B2B marketing agency staff a call today.