Why B2B Branding Is More Vital Than Ever

For years, B2B brands have invested more in sales and products than in brand marketing. Common sense was that excellent specs and personal relationships would win the day.

Today, however, it is clear that a strong brand is essential in B2B, where it increases demand generation efficiency, reduces the cost of sales, and imposes a premium price.

Part of the importance of the B2B brand comes from timeless truths – emotion has always been a big driver of B2B shopping, more than some people realize. After all, a business buyer is still a human buyer, and choosing the wrong supplier for a critical business process has negative career consequences.

In addition, smart B2B brands recognize that potential buyers can be divided into two groups: inside and outside the market.

Only a small fraction of buyers are in the market – they are actively looking for your product or service and therefore are likely to respond to rational product brands and benefit from marketing. Instead, your goal, in front of most strangers, is to be memorable enough for them to seek out your brand when necessary. Emotional messages are more likely to create these memorable bonds.

In addition to the power of emotions, we are also experiencing major market changes, both technical and social, that increase the importance of smart branding for B2B, and especially branding that shows how purpose, values, and user experience shape a brand messages and behavior.

  1. Digital Transformation

Today, almost all companies are digital companies, especially in B2B, where many legacy technologies and professional service providers offer software, often with subscriptions.

This is a new business model and has changed the B2B sales cycle. To innovate and increase advertising, companies need to engage and satisfy their customers along their experience journey (converting to sales is just the beginning). In short, marketers must think of customers as users, not buyers.

With this in mind, large B2B companies become true resources dedicated to their customers’ success.

Think of HubSpot, the pioneer of digital inbound marketing. Your brand’s voice, powerful yet simple, is channeled through every touchpoint, including AI chatbots. In addition, it acts as an information center for professionalization and provides freemium content to marketers during each stage of the implementation of customer relationship management (CRM).

Affordable, easy to talk and a rich source of marketing thought, HubSpot delivers a branding experience that delivers on its promise to help customers grow better.

  1. Increase competition

Digital transformation drives competitive distribution as traditional barriers to entry are broken down by scalable technology platforms, telecommunications, and large venture capital financing. It is a challenge for any B2B company to maintain the product or feature differentiation.

This is where the B2B brand comes in. Brands must demonstrate that while their heritage provides them with scalability and capabilities, they also have the ability to bend to meet modern needs and opportunities.

American Express has long found the distinction in its exclusivity: paying with an AmEx Gold (or Platinum or Black) card was a sign of prestige. In addition, by offering customers financial incentives to buy local products for small businesses on Saturdays, American Express has become the credit card provider for small businesses in the United States.

The program has been hugely successful, generating revenue for small businesses, and has also consolidated the positioning of the American Express brand as highly focused and differentiated.

  1. Sustainability as a company’s interest

Each year it becomes clearer that environmental sustainability is not a good thing, but a necessity for the company’s continued success. B2B companies need to make some of the biggest changes to reduce their carbon footprint: Industrial and utility companies create about half of the country’s greenhouse gases.

In times of transition, the brand offers not only a clue but also the benevolence of those involved. Marketing plays a fundamental role and translates complex management decisions about sustainability into reasons of trust for customers, employees, and investors.

Furthermore, an appreciated brand can isolate stakeholder concerns. The benevolence gained from years of brand marketing can ease the sometimes turbulent transitions of B2B companies from brown energy to green energy.

Look at Maersk, the shipping giant, for a good example: the Scandinavian brand is built on humility, responsibility, and ‘constant care’. Maersk’s brand-building activities have proven to be extremely valuable to the company, especially in times of crisis.

For example, after one of its cargo ships hit and killed a whale, the transparency and remorse of the brand on social media won the respect of many followers, mitigating the potential negative public relations impact of the incident.

  1. Generation Y as decision-makers

Millennials are now very mature and take on leadership roles in decision-making. They are responsible for making multiple B2B purchases on behalf of their company, from services to products.

Growing up with mobile banking and Amazon Prime, millennials expect acquired B2B brands to deliver equally personalized and hassle-free experiences.

This also applies to employer brands. According to a survey by American Express, 78% of millennials say they want to work with a company based on their values.

Brand marketing is the key to articulating and proclaiming a business ethic. However, this must be done in conjunction with employee engagement initiatives that shape desired behaviors and reward those who adhere to the brand.

An engaged workforce is often a B2B brand’s greatest marketing asset—more effective at spreading brand messages and creating a consistent experience than any paid channel. The talent you attract determines the brand you become.

Salesforce has invested heavily in spreading the company’s values ​​throughout the organization. She became known for her promotion of “stakeholder capitalism” or for the idea that companies can benefit not just investors, but also employees, customers, and community members.

Salesforce does the same. Your “pioneers,” as you call your employees, contribute to positive social change as part of their professional efforts. The company’s 1-1-1 program invests 1% of Salesforce’s resources, technology, and people to improve education, equity, and the environment. Thanks to their efforts, Salesforce has consistently been named one of America’s best workplaces.

  1. United in One Goal: Leading B2B Brands

All B2B companies that have made the new brand have found their guide in something with more emotional impact than products, services, or shareholder value.

From HubSpot’s commitment to helping other brands grow to Maersk’s solid heritage, the mission-oriented brand empowers companies to build human relationships with employees, customers, and communities, while making the sometimes dramatic changes necessary for rapid growth and today’s intense and saturated market.