B2B branding: more important than ever!

Lynda St-Arneault – June 29, 2023

Why should companies adopt a B2B branding or image and brand management strategy based on specific growth or transformation objectives?

This is a common and legitimate question that deserves serious consideration. As entrepreneurs or decision-makers, you shouldn’t neglect your thoughts on the implementation of your B2B branding strategy.  It represents a real competitive advantage, and an intangible asset that has an impact right up until after the sale.

Last but not least, your B2B branding strategy must be unique, and provide an unparalleled customer experience. The link between customer experience and brand perception in B2B is strong. In our opinion, it’s the most “influential”. An optimized customer experience will set you apart from your competitors.  It will improve customer relations and have a positive impact on their perception of and loyalty to your brand.

Historically, brand power in B2B has often been overlooked. It’s important to remember that the perception and experience offered by your brand through your strategy are closely linked to your growth.

Branding is about strategically determining the experiences and emotions you wish to convey to your prospects, customers, partners, candidates and employees. Your brand is the embodiment of your company to all its stakeholders. You need to think in terms of your commercial, corporate and employer brands as a whole. You have to stop working in silos as if brands were separate entities. This is especially true in B2B!

What is B2B branding?

According to Wikipedia, branding is “a kind of brand power. The term is mainly used in marketing and graphic design. It’s about creating a coherent, consistent and rewarding brand culture that tells the story of “branded” products. Branding gives a company a strong personality and a unique identity.”

Your B2B branding represents your company’s values, identity, culture and reputation. It must also demonstrate its unique positioning in its market. Your points of differentiation must be conveyed through your brand image: the message conveyed, your offering, your capacity for innovation…

Your B2B branding must reflect several key points

Knowledge of your customer. One of the most important things your brand can communicate is how well it knows your customers.  And how effectively it meets their needs.

This is particularly important in B2B, where the seller/customer relationship is often more a partnership than a simple transaction. Good customer relationship management is essential. It reflects your ability to maintain a healthy, lasting relationship over time.

Passion and purpose. It’s important to explain why you act in a certain way instead of just communicating what you do.

Enhance your brand image by demonstrating what motivates your values and actions, and what led you to create your unique value proposition.

Stand out from the crowd!

Culture and personality. This doesn’t just apply to B2C. These elements are of paramount importance in B2B. Your company’s culture will have an impact on the relationship with your customers. Your behavior, personality and interaction must represent your brand image and convey your company’s values.

Consistency and quality. In B2B, major purchasing decisions are made using a variety of marketing communication channels and media. These include your website and blog, your newsletter and your social networks. Also trade shows, webinars, videos, etc.

That’s why brand and product consistency are so important to your customers’ buying experience. Indeed, the risks of inconsistency and dissatisfaction are high. This is why it’s important to “unify” across different media and channels when talking about your brand, always with a view to consistency and quality. 

The way your brand is perceived across different media and channels will have an impact on your customer base.

Differentiation and experiences

Uniqueness or differentiation.  Have you asked yourself what makes you different? Why should people choose you over your nearest competitor? What do you have that’s different, and more importantly, what can you offer that’s different?

Differentiation is the factor that determines the value attributed to your brand, B2B branding answers this question: “Why should your customers choose you?”

Experiences. The experiences of your prospects and customers, not the messages, define brands. You can have the most compelling brand message in your category, but if the experience doesn’t reinforce it, you’re out.

B2B branding is not about communication, it’s about experiences that find expression in communication.

The role of marketing research in defining B2B branding

Marketing research plays a crucial role in defining B2B branding. It gathers valuable information that can help shape your company’s brand image.

  • Understand your personas
  • Define your unique value proposition
  • Master the customer and employee journey
  • Identify and measure perceptions
  • Choose a strategic positioning

Marketing research is a valuable tool that can help you build a strong brand identity and implement a coherent brand strategy. It is therefore essential for defining B2B branding.

Final words on B2B branding

B2B branding is a lever for growth and differentiation in a competitive market. It goes far beyond the simple creation of a logo or slogan. It’s about the very soul of your company and the promise you make to your customers and how you deliver it.

It’s about understanding who you are, what you do, why you do it and how you can bring value to your customers.

Feel free to contact us to discuss this in more detail and share your thoughts. If you found this blog post useful, we encourage you to share it in your networks and tell others about it. More than ever, B2B branding deserves our attention and thought.

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