Let’s just say; you are a Mason jar manufacturer. These products can be sold directly to customers who want to use them for their own personal use, like storing food items. Or, these jars can be sold to other companies, which would use them to their end products, like a factory producing pasta sauce, or a cafe selling low-fat yogurt. From this example, the former is a B2C transaction, while the latter is B2B.
In a nutshell, in a B2C model, your final customer is the consumers themselves. You could be running a restaurant, retail store of website offering products to them – and they could purchase the product anytime between a few minutes to a few days.
These consumers do not need lengthy messages, just straight-to-the-point information on how they could benefit from it personally. Hence, their decision is more emotional.
However, when it comes to B2B, it is a different ball game, it involves marketing products and services to other businesses. Many assumed that since B2B deals with logic of a product, there is little to no personal emotion involved with the decision making, as compared to B2C.
But, according to a study CEB Marketing Leadership Council by entitled “From Promotion to Emotion: Connecting B2B Customers to Brands”, this is proven otherwise.
The finding that personal values have twice as much weight in a buyer’s decision process than business values (42.6% as compared to 21.4%). Many of the perceived risks that come with making a B2B decision are personal risks that fall on the buyer, such as losing time, losing credibility, or losing a job.
In addition, the study noted that buyers that have a high brand connection with a potential supplier, the purchase rate was 64%, while it was only 5% purchase rate for buyers that had no brand connection.
Thus, this shows that B2B branding is a much more personal world than perceived, and B2B companies need to promote themselves in a way that appeals to buyers’ emotions as well as their rationale – they are people too.
So, B2B companies need to have a strong brand image that can appeal to buyers’ emotions as well as offer the decision maker some personal value. More than just promoting spare parts or materials, but to be able prove to the potential buyer that buying from you will be a good decision for their career in the long run.
Moving forward, B2B businesses should rethink of their approach to their audience, moving away from just demonstrating their capabilities, and instead focusing on engaging audience on a perception level. In order words, B2B branding counts.
Associate strategist Khalil Grell of global brand strategy, design and experience firm Siegel+Gale suggested a few tactics for B2B branding to engage its audience..
1. Reaching Mass Awareness and Esteem
Major B2B brands are utilizing marketing to increase awareness and esteem for their businesses. Commercial real estate company CBRE uses its Instagram account to showcase architecture from around the world, making a name for its business with audiences that might not traditionally be familiar with the company.
2. Shining a Light on Corporate Culture
By highlighting their corporate culture, companies hope to increase their brand authenticity and recruiting high-performing employees. For example, GE has utilized branding to recruit employees, creating humorous videos like, “What’s the Matter with Owen?”
3. Telling Your Brand Story
Like B2C, B2B companies are telling more brand stories to show how they positively impact the world – showcasing a larger purpose for their work. American multinational conglomerate corporation GE describes its “GE Store” as a “marketplace built on imagination” that utilises technology and research to “build, power, move, and cure the world.”
If the Mason jar company does not work to enhance its B2B branding, potential customers might move to one that tells a better brand story and has a better B2B branding.