Business-to-business branding, or B2B branding is all about establishing a relationship with the customer. The majority of products and services are sold through direct contact with a salesperson, and the brand must give a comprehensive solution for their customers. So a B2B business is not only selling a product or service, but also engaging in ongoing support and engaging in relationship-building.
Brand image is a term that some B2B marketers are reluctant to use. In many B2B sales or manufacturing businesses, the concept of “brand” is questioned. The addition of the term “image” (popular in B2C) is likely to perpetuate the misconception among skeptics that branding is too soft a discipline to create any actual revenue.
However, business-to-business marketers who operate in relationship-driven selling contexts would be advised to reassess “image” as a necessary component of defining how “our brand helps buyers visualize what it’s like to work with us.”
Marketers working in B2B relationships should not disregard “image” as mere fluff, but rather rethink “brand image” as a crucial factor in defining how “our brand helps customers visualize what it’s like to work with us.”
As a B2B marketing professional, you should carefully consider all aspects of the planning and implementation of your branding strategy because it represents a significant competitive edge in the market place.
Additionally, your branding approach must create a distinctive consumer experience. Better customer service sets your company apart from the rest. Furthermore, there is a strong link between customer experience and brand perception. Customers’ image of your brand will automatically increase as a result of a better customer experience.
What makes B2B customers different from B2C?
Due to the complexity of the acquisition process in B2B markets; brand equity is more crucial. The number of people engaged in the purchasing decision process, and the internal obstacles that must be overcome, such as compatibility and conversion costs from the present brand, all contribute to the complexity.
B2B acquisitions include some risk for both the buyer and the company. Buying from well-known brands rather than unproven ones is a risk-management strategy used by many businesses.
In B2B scenarios, industrial buyers’ asses both the product and the company brands in the same context. They use the company’s brand reputation as a benchmark for support, quality, and value. In the world of business-to-business, buyer-supplier relationships are more complex.
Product qualities such as look, color, and features are more important to B2C buyers. Performance, value, quality, and reputation will be priorities for B2B buyers.
6 things to think about when optimizing your B2B business’s brand
1. Make sure you know what your customers are looking for and how they go about it.
Develop a value proposition that promotes brand value while also enhancing your brand image-for example, service, support, and company reputation.
2. Develop, nurture, and strengthen your brand. All who say its name or look at its logo are expected to respect it.
Make your brand stand out by what it stands for. It’s the lifeblood of your company.
3. Take into account the value proposition of your product(s) and make sure your brand is consistent with it.
Position your product brands to match the corporate brand’s personality.
4. Company brands should reflect the company’s mission and values.
Product brands should be consistent with the product family, emphasizing the product’s strengths(s).
5. Manage the number of items and derivative brands to strengthen a brand.
A product called “Hero,” for example, might include derivatives such as Hero-Pro, Hero-Max, Hero-Ultra, or a mix of prefixes and suffixes.
6. Examine your B2B brand’s promotion.
The logo, colors, typefaces, and slogan should all work together to complement your brand.
There are two reasons why marketing initiatives are created: brand recognition and lead generation. The aim must be clear and the marketing methods must coincide with the goal throughout the early stages of development.
It is science to manage a brand. As a firm expands through acquisitions, it absorbs products and brands, and legacy brands are often phased out over time. This process necessitates a conscious adjustment.
What are shortcomings of B2B branding and imaging?
Below are some of the drawbacks of branding:
1. Exorbitant development expenses
The most significant downside of branding is its high cost, as brands do not emerge quickly and corporations must spend significant money on advertising and publicity. As a way to foresee and justify the brand development process, brand marketers frequently compute the ROBI (Return on Brand investment).
2. Quality flexibility is limited.
The fact that they offer quality for a premium price result in limited flexibility in the quality of the companies’ products and services. The only reason why customers will pay this extra money is for the quality guarantee. So, there are no exceptions here, gentlemen!
3. Changing the B2B brand’s perception is difficult.
Another downside of branding is that if a brand obtains a negative name or reputation for any reason, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to restore the brand’s former position or standing. It’s analogous to basketball MVP, where one bad pass can lead to the team losing the game and you losing your MVP status.