03 Sep Branding for the B2B market
Whiplash Team, 3rd September 2021
Branding for the B2B market
Until now, the B2B (Business to Business) sector had used networking, personal calls and presence at events and trade shows as the main tools to generate business. However, that is no longer enough. Videoconferencing has largely replaced commercial visits and the pandemic has hindered fairs and events. The Internet is a sea of information where companies from all sectors and countries offer their products and services. For B2B companies, a consistent and coherent brand strategy that differentiates them and makes them stand out from the competition is increasingly important.
Whenever we think of brands, we think either of consumer goods, such as perfume, clothing, footwear, detergents, or food, or we think of services. But behind the scenes of each of those brands that we take home, or those we go to when we need accommodation, transportation, or to take care of our money, there are other companies, with their own brands.
They work tirelessly to provide to the brands we consume everything that they need to be manufactured and available so that we, as customers, can add them to our shopping basket. They are companies that buy and sell to other companies. They make up what is called the B2B market.
By its very nature, the B2B market has fewer players than the B2C (Business to Consumer) market, as there are fewer companies than final consumers. In addition, this sector has its own mechanics, which do not involve large advertising campaigns, for example. Rather, they are based on rational purchasing decisions, long-term relationships between buyers and sellers, and a higher demand for reliability and assurance, as well as trust and interpersonal empathy.
The question, in any case, is whether B2C and B2B brands are different. The answer is no. In both cases, brands seek to persuade and mobilize their target audiences. The need for a clear purpose and coherent and consistent communication that demonstrates their values and aspirations is the same.
However, until now, much of the commercial effort within the B2B environment was based on networking, personal calls and presence at events and trade fairs. A good PowerPoint presentation, along with a contact list, and a high presence at industry trade shows were all that was needed.
But all this has changed rapidly, on the one hand, due to the increasingly widespread use of technological tools to supply face-to-face interaction –especially in the context of the pandemic–, and on the other because trade fairs and professional events have been suspended in the last year and a half. In addition, the excess of information available on the Internet about any type of brand, in any sector, anywhere in the world, has caused a kind of saturation in the target audiences that make differentiation essential.
On top of this, in the B2B environment the decision-maker’s position, both within and out of the company, will be affected depending on his or her choice of a particular brand. In this sense, then, it is likely that whoever the decision-maker is, he or she will be more inclined to an offer from a well-known and recognized brand, even if it is not the best offer, than to a more attractive one from an unknown organization. This minimizes the risk of making mistakes in a selection process where the brand becomes a decision-making element that generates business and creates value in the end market. In this context, strengthening the brand becomes increasingly important in the B2B segment where strategic management, in general, has been greatly forgotten.
The strategic management of a B2B brand involves, among other things:
- Aligning the brand strategy with the business strategy of the company to make the brand another tool in achieving the objectives.
- Being clear about the target audience, so that, based on the business objectives, the strategy and the communication of the brand are relevant to those who we are targeting
- Defining a differentiating strategy for the brand, its values and its positioning that allows it to stand out from the competition.
- Having a product portfolio that meets the needs of the brand’s target audiences.
- Being coherent and consistent in the communication of the brand’s strategy and positioning.
All this will help the brand to gain visibility, increase its online presence, generate better relationships with the environment, increase its creditability with suppliers, create prospects and turn them into sales and convert customers into prescribers, to stay at the top of the mind of the buyers and, also, to attract and retain the best talent.