Humanizing Businesses One Brand at a Time
Business leaders and marketers generally understand the power of a strong brand for B2C companies. It makes sense that the collective sum of experiences will lead a customer’s decision to purchase everything from shampoo to a new car.
But for some reason, it seems harder to apply this logic – the importance of a customer’s collective sum of experiences with an organization – to a business-to-business purchase. Despite the mental hurdle, there is great urgency for B2B companies (manufacturers in particular) to start thinking this way as they manage significant business challenges, including the disruption of traditional sales channels and looming risks of commoditization.
Even IndustryWeek, a leading manufacturing business publication, is taking notice as evidenced by its current cover story, “The Power of Brand.” Here are a few notable takeaways:
Brand = collective experience: In the article, veteran technology marketer Bob Apollo shares that what customers and prospects think about your brand is shaped by their experience with your offerings, your people and the feedback they get from others. I like this because it emphasizes that businesses should not be limiting branding to the sales and marketing funnels. It is a holistic concept and the efforts to elevate the brand need to be holistic as well.
Brand humanizes: A well-established brand helps to define a company. By defining the company, the brand creates opportunities for customers and prospects to connect with the business. This is especially important for B2B businesses, because it helps to create a connection in a space where it can be a real challenge to do so. This also drives home the point that brand transcends B2B and B2C. We’re all humans – we all need to connect.
Brand drives loyalty: What a business takes to the market is more than just widget X. Of course you want to sell as many widgets as you can, but what you should really be trying to do is drive loyalty and advocacy. If you can leverage your brand to create preference, it will help your business fight against commoditization. Demonstrating your greater purpose – for instance, enabling your customers’ success – is one way to do this.
Brand as a unifier: When Jay Gould was the chief innovation officer at Coca-Cola, he worked to alter the viewpoint that the company was a collection of brands by putting a greater emphasis on the Coca-Cola brand as a whole. We work with many B2B clients that have multiple business units and sub-brands. While it’s not always easy to manage, we believe that a building a stronger parent brand can unite and add value to a complicated business structure.
These are just a few of many insights provided in the article. We highly encourage our B2B friends to take a few minutes to read through it in full. We’d love to hear which points resonated most with you!