It’s easy to overlook branding efforts in any business, but especially B2B. After all, leads are easy to measure, and they contribute directly to the bottom line. What does branding really have to offer?
Branding builds loyalty, allows you to charge a premium, and reduces perceived risk in the eyes of your buyers. If they are familiar with your brand, buyers will be more likely to purchase from you as opposed to a competitor who is less well-known. They want to believe that you will be around for the long-term, because a B2B purchase is typically larger and on a longer timeline than its B2C counterparts. In fact, many decision makers say that brand is just as important as sales efforts when it comes to convincing them to make a purchase.
Often, your product’s features will be very similar to those of your competitors’. You likely have a few key distinguishing features that set you apart, but overall the laundry list of “we can do this, this and this for you” approach will likely numb the senses of your prospects, if only because they’ve heard the majority of it before. And that’s where your brand comes in: no competitor can copy your brand, no matter how hard they may try.
Brands are also laden with emotion, which affects B2B buyers the same way as B2C. When evaluating what product or service to purchase, decision makers will, of course, compare features and price points. But they will also trust their instincts, to some extent. And if your brand has developed an emotional connection to them, these instincts will point them in your direction.
Here are some tips for building a successful B2B brand:
- Focus on trust at all times. Your customers need to trust that you will be there for them when they need you. This is the cornerstone of any great B2B brand.
- Keep it simple. Your brand should be easy to understand, whether by a new or existing customer. Too many attributes, and the core ideas of what your brand is will become diluted.
- Be consistent. Branding is an “always on” activity, so you must make sure that all of your marketing, sales and other material is aligned.
- Know your audience. Your brand should clearly speak to the needs and pain points of your target audience. And remember: your audience is not just your customer. This includes your employees, suppliers and vendors and community partners.
- Build an emotional connection. The relationship your business has with its customers will be largely defined by their emotional connection to your brand, so be sure to focus on building it up.