It was once a common misconception that branding was the sole preserve of B2C businesses, but that time has long since passed. B2B companies need to focus as much on their branding strategy as B2Cs (albeit, in a different way). But many businesses still aren’t meeting their potential when it comes to effective branding strategy, and this is often due to their focus on transactional values over emotive values.
B2B companies tend to assume their clients don’t take emotive factors into account when making business decisions. After all, business customers aren’t usually buying for themselves, but for the company they represent, and therefore brands assume their clients’ decisions are based on logic and objectivity. According to logic (“live long and prosper” etc.), what matters the most is the value of the transaction to the buyer. However, that’s just not how people work.
Any time a group of people discuss a project or make a decision, emotions come into play. In fact, B2B customers tend to be more emotionally connected to a brand than B2C customers. The connection people have with businesses shouldn’t be surprising, either; the investment they put into their decision to purchase is very high and there is a lot more at stake. A poor decision can lead to substandard business performance, which can affect a company’s reputation and even reflect badly on the person making the decision. That’s why a level of trust must be established between buyer and seller.
A successful brand will engage with their customer, talk their language, and make them feel valued. The company will clearly care about the product or service they are offering, but won’t attempt to sell it as a product or service; instead, they’ll sell the benefits of doing business with their brand. Highlighting the benefits shows that a brand understands their customers’ needs. After all, if you’re trying to sell a gym membership, you don’t do so by showing off a treadmill, you sell it by promoting how going to that gym can make a customer’s life better. It makes the purchase more personal, which, in turn, helps to humanise the brand and engages with the user in a very positive way.
Many B2B brands only implement a branding strategy with the intention of making their brand more conspicuous. These companies only see value in recognition and see their brand identity as merely a front behind which to do business. The problem with this is that only 14% of B2B customers consider a brand’s value important enough to pay for – for them, a brand isn’t a logo or font, but the humanisation of a business. What customers are looking for are trust and reliability, and B2B brands need to deliver this because 60% of business interactions and decisions are emotional.
While the implementation and techniques differ considerably, the branding goals of B2C and B2B companies have become more and more similar. With the normalisation of emotion-based decision-making in businesses, it’s becoming more important to engage with your customers. Before they can agree to invest in your company, your clients need to know that you understand their goals and challenges. That means making an effort to get to know and understand your clients while you build a relationship with them.
Businesses can create trust by providing what their customers need, but it’s the brand that customers engage with. Only your brand can properly demonstrate the benefits of working with you by being there to engage, inform, promote, and represent what your business stands for. It generates a personality for your company and this anthropomorphic effect makes it much easier to put faith in your brand, rather than a company. If you’re interested in hearing about how Dusted can help your brand expand its business, please feel free to contact us!