While Business-to-Consumer (B2C) marketers can use catchy slogans and viral campaigns to build their brands, in the Business-to-Business (B2B) world, the branding process is a little more complex. Catchy slogans and viral campaigns can be helpful, but as a B2B, your approach needs to be a bit different. Branding yourself to attract business sales isn’t the same as branding yourself to appeal to individual consumers. At the same time, there are similarities, such as the development of your brand to inspire loyalty.
Brand influence has more sway on B2B purchasing decisions than any other factor, according to a Good Relations study. In fact, of the executives surveyed, almost three-fourths stated they were more likely to purchase a service or product based on their perception of how strong the brand was.
A good B2B branding strategy will understand the differences between B2C branding and B2B branding:
- Unlike B2C, the B2B purchasing decision often involves several people
- The B2B evaluation buying process can be extensive
- B2B services and products can have a higher learning curve
- B2B products may require a longer sales process and a larger investment
When building your brand online, in order to continue to have a strong brand presence, you need to:
Focus on the right strengths — Executives are concerned about effective supply chain management, honest communication, and your level of specialized expertise, according to a study by McKinsey & Company. That doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate your social responsibility, global reach, and environmental efforts in your branding.
Be a thought leader – Your website should position your company as an expert in your industry. By showing your expertise and establishing yourself as the forerunner, you can show your target audience that they can trust your experience and knowledge. Keep up on current industry news and trends, and make sure to regularly post new content that details your industry experience.
Develop valuable content – As a B2B company, it’s likely that your services or products are complex, and your industry may have specific concerns, issues, and requirements. By giving your potential prospects and current customers educational information in the form of videos, infographics, and guides, they can use that information to inform their important decision-making and problem-solving, which they will associate with your brand.
Make LinkedIn connections – 41% of B2B marketers identified LinkedIn as their most important social platform resource, according to a recent report by Social Media Examiner. Utilize LinkedIn’s brand-building perks by actively participating. Join relevant groups and showcase your expertise by answering questions. Maximize your company profile by creating a compelling pitch aimed at your target audience, and provide relevant content. Post regular company updates, and guide readers to your site for more information.
Engage your audience with downloadable resources – Downloadable content will also help generate leads. Ebook and whitepaper downloads are the top B2B lead producers, according to the 2015 B2B Lead Generation Trends Report. Downloads don’t just provide value for your target audience, by requiring visitors to provide an email address before they download a resource, they can also help you expand your email list.
Establish a good reputation – To potential customers, a strong reputation is key. It signifies increased credibility and reduced risk. B2B decision-makers value a vendor’s reputation more than they do the cost of products or services, according to the McKinsey study. Stay on top of your social channels and review sites, such as Yelp, and reply immediately to any negative comments with a reply to resolve any problems or complaints.
Don’t discount emotion – Many B2B companies make the mistake of thinking that the only factors involved in purchasing decisions are logic and objective evaluation, but, like B2C purchases, there is a certain amount of emotion involved. In fact, an emotional connection with your customers is twice as effective as your business value when it comes to making purchasing decisions. Focus on inspiring emotional connections based on confidence and trust.
Interested in building your brand further in the digital realm? Look to us for assistance.