In the past, companies that sold directly to other businesses had questioned the importance of branding and the benefits it could provide. But in today’s fast-paced world where there are ten to hundreds of B2B companies in every niche, branding has become a great differentiator. These companies have realized that, in the end, a business buyer is a human buyer, and emotions play a large part in B2B purchases as well. Not only that, branding helps create a memorable experience for the audience that even if they don’t need your product/service now, they’re bound to come back to you when they are seeking one.
Why B2B branding is important?
In the book Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell, he goes on to explain that buyers do not always rely on their rational minds to make decisions. They make decisions by relying on first impressions that are based on stored memories, feelings, and images. While this might not entirely be relevant to B2B as it is for the B2C segment, B2B buyers these days are bombarded with choices. While their selection process does consider things like price, features, benefits, data, metrics, and so on, they will still use heuristics (mental shortcuts that allow people to solve problems and make judgments quickly)
This emotional aspect of the buying process may happen consciously or subconsciously but there’s no denying that it happens. This is where branding comes into the picture. By building the right associations in your prospects’ minds, you can close the deal much earlier in your sales process. Not only that, branding can also set you apart from your competitors as there’s a popular sentiment among B2B companies that they do not need to pay attention to branding efforts.
Here are some other benefits that B2B branding can have for your business:
- Helps inspire trust in your brand. This trust minimizes the prospects’ perceived risk when working with your company. In B2B business, where the cost of an error can be quite high, this becomes a great advantage.
- Increases the willingness to try a product
- Enables you to charge a premium and sustain it.
- Lower sensitivity to price increases
- Adds a differentiating factor
- Helps create a loyal customer base
How does B2B branding differ from B2C branding?
There are many distinctions when it comes to both these markets. In B2B, the buying cycle is usually longer, the customers need more information, the requirements are better specified, and stakes are typically higher. These transactions are also heavily weighed and while attributes like pricing, features, support become more important, there are many other attributes at play when a customer makes a decision. These are the attributes that play an important role in B2B branding.
When your entire buying process is easier, customers’ work becomes more efficient. Instead of seeing you as just a buyer, they see you as a partner to their business. Thus, it becomes all the more important for B2B brands to bring customers fresh insights and ideas as a part of their branding strategy. This keeps the customers coming back to you, not just to buy products but to buy solutions as well. Instead of relying on individual people that give solutions to their customers, B2B branding is all about creating brands that do it for them.
How can you go about building a successful B2B brand?
Here are two ways you can go about building a successful B2B brand that acts as a guiding force for the sales, marketing, and product teams in your company:
- Create experiences that align with your brand attributes: Let’s say, your brand attribute is providing convenience. You can have the most compelling message around this brand attribute but it would make no difference until it is put into action. From the first impression of your brand to the final stage of the buying process, this brand attribute should be ingrained in the customer experience. The strongest B2B brands make sure everyone from the employees to the relevant stakeholders understands these brand attributes and how they show up throughout the customer experience. They strive to be partners instead of just sellers and this motivates them to create content and interactions that both educate and inspire.
- Make use of brand stories: Storytelling can be an important component for a B2B brand as well. If you look at the top B2B brands in any sector, they have tied their businesses around the benefits and solutions they provide to the customers, not the products or services they offer. A brand story helps the customers know what to expect and where you can go with them.
Now that you know how important building a successful brand is for your B2B business, try out these strategies and create a whole new experience for your customers.