Usually, when we talk about branding, we’re usually talking about B2C (business to consumer) companies, and specifically products, but we should also talk about B2B branding. If you’ve been following this blog for very long, you know that we believe all branding can have a favorable impact on every business, whether product, service, B2C branding, or B2B branding.
B2B Branding Makes Sense
The reason is quite simply, that likeability and name recognition matters when a human being is involved in the buying process. True, especially for B2B businesses, while the bottomline and the “deal” will probably trump likeability, to get to the table and to be in a position to make the deal, guess what — B2B branding matters. Steve Olenski over at CrowdShifter.comtells the story of a client of his who was a B2B business that, “…could not grasp the fact that there was a real human being on the other end of his sales pitch. In his mind, he was a B2B company and B2B companies don’t need to be personal or conversational…that was for the B2C folks.” He goes on to write,
“The moral of course I don’t care what you are, B2B, B2C, E=MC2, whatever… until actual businesses, bricks and mortar businesses can speak for themselves — and who knows, Steve Jobs may just have an App for that, you have to remember there is ALWAYS a person on the other end of the line… with emotions, feelings, opinions and so on.”
Brand Equity for B2B Branding
In a study recently released by Sheena Leek and George Christodoulides for the University of Birmingham titled, “Literature Review and Future Agenda for B2B Branding: Challenges of Branding in a B2B Context” they articulate a revised brand equity pyramid for B2B branding, which clearly demonstrates the baseline importance of the Brand as the foundation for all further business.
Leek and Christodoulides expand on the topic saying,
“Branding is potentially useful to buyers during the early stages of the decision making process (Webster and Keller 2004). It may be useful in determining the characteristics and quantity of needed item, in the search for and qualification of potential suppliers, in the acquisition and analysis of suppliers’ proposals and in the evaluative stage of the purchase decision making process.”
Bottomline, branding matters, whether or not your in a B2C or B2B model. In fact, Patrik Olsen argues, that B2B branding and B2C branding “…factions should in a near future be extinct since they are no longer needed to define a customer.”
All of this means that whether you’re a B2C or a B2B — it’s time to take a look at your brand position. If you have one, how can you make it stronger? If you don’t have one, or it’s not well known, what can you do take the first step toward improving it? Once you identify the first step, take a second, and a third, and keep moving down the branding path. Afterall, we’re humans, and as humans, we like to buy from people we like, and at it’s core, that’s what B2B branding is all about.
- Seven Steps for Building Powerful B2B Brands (brandmc2.com)
- B2B decision makers are increasingly researching in social media (inblurbs.com)