B2B marketers who build and leverage a strong brand can gain a strategic competitive advantage and enjoy explosive sales growth.
Mention “branding” to B2B management, and logos may come to mind.
But, a logo is not a brand.
According to Branding Strategy Insider, a BRAND = [Prediction of what to expect] X [emotional power of that expectation].
A brand is a promise about who you are and what benefits you deliver that are reinforced every single time people come in contact with any facet of your organization.
But isn't branding more important for consumer products such as Coke and Nike?
To the contrary, argues Kevin Randall, Director of Brand Strategy & Research at Movéo Integrated Branding. In a brandchannel article, Randall argues that brands drive business-to-business sales even more than in the business-to-consumer arena:
"Branding today is a strategic tool that helps the supplier cut through the morass of the market, get noticed, and connect with the customer on many levels and in ways that matter. A strong brand becomes the customer’s “shorthand” for making good choices in a complex, risky, and confusing marketplace."
And despite the grueling process associated with B2B sales, brands still play a role:
"B2B customers often evaluate potential suppliers according to numerous, rigorous criteria—a “scientific” RFP process. But does anyone really think a multi-million dollar decision will come down to a numeric score or check list? How does a supplier even make the RFP list? You guessed it: Through their recognized brand."
The financial returns of companies who invest in building strong brands can be very impressive.
- Since 1984, Techtel has been measuring the relationship between brand building and stock performance and has "consistently found on average a 70 percent correlation between brand equity and stock performance."
- A study by Watson Wyatt showed the earnings per share performance of companies with trusted brands outperformed companies with low trust levels by 186 percent.
The article also outlines 2 requirements to build a strong brand which are especially relevant to B2B marketers:
- Strong, profitable brands are built from the top down and the inside out. Without the commitment of top management, most corporate branding initiatives fail.
- Successful brands speak with one voice. B2B sales generally involve lots of money, people and complexity. Customers who have an experience with a brand that is integrated and consistent become very loyal customers.
Click here to read the full article, “It’s a Fact: Strong Brands Drive B2B Markets.”