Your brand, whoever you're selling to, needs to be the biggest, most positive, most recognisable brand in your field.
B2B business is often geared around big sales, big profits, immediate turnarounds and short lead times. In an industry revolving around results, that's no real surprise.
But as reported in The Drum, this short-term thinking means that many B2B businesses spend little time and money on brand building – and therefore often don't have a core, recognisable, identifiable image.
In fact, some research shows that only 4% of B2B marketing teams measure impact beyond a six-month period. And this this seems like a mistake:
In order to grow, B2B marketers need to start shifting efforts (and budgets) towards a 50/50 split between short term activation activity and long term brand building.
But why does B2B need to focus on brand building?
There are four major reasons:
1. The louder the voice, the bigger the growth
Brands that place importance on their voice over their share of market are the most likely to grow. It doesn't matter if these businesses are B2C or B2B – if you focus on raising awareness, building an identity and shouting loud, you are going to grow.
Be noticed and you will expand.
2. New customers means new money
Yes, most B2B businesses focus on current customer retention and current customer satisfaction. But research shows that the real money lies in acquiring new customers.
You absolutely shouldn't ignore your existing customers, but retaining them while you bring in new ones is absolutely the way to make more money.
But to attract new customers, you typically need a recognisable brand.
3. Become the brand that is easy to choose
As the economist Daniel Kahneman says, “the brain is largely a machine for jumping to conclusions”.
We all make choices because things are familiar to us. Think of all the brand-name products you buy every single day. The reason you buy these products? Familiarity. People aren't inherently wired to try new things on a day-to-day basis.
For that reason, if you can make yourself the most recognisable brand in your field, you'll get the biggest market share.
We like to think that B2B transactions are made on a more rational level than B2C transactions. But B2B transactions still have people – and all their familiarity-loving flaws – at their core.
4. Human beings are emotional creatures
Again, B2B transactions are still led by people. You might be selling to a business, but that business is made up of people.
And you need to make those people develop positive feelings toward your brand. If you can positively embed yourself in the heads of other business owners, they'll be more likely to deal with you than your competitors.
And it shows in the results – emotion based, fame building campaigns outperform rational ones by a margin of 10x.
In conclusion, B2B businesses need to learn from their B2C counterparts. Your brand, whoever you're selling to, needs to be the biggest, most positive, most recognisable brand in your field.