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From B-to-B: from Boring to Brand

In quite a number of business-to-business oriented companies, the very notion of brand still is non-existent or even suspect. Product and price prevail. Yet, important as the traditional p’s are, brand can no longer remain undervalued.

Talk about what matters and mean it

Do your customers believe in what you are doing? Do they want to be associated with you? Branding is about uncovering what you stand for: it is about your promise – your brand core – to your customers and to the world, and about being who you say you are. Then, you will be able to create meaningful brand engagement, and build true customer relationships and loyalty; increasing interest for your product, as well, and diminishing the importance of price.

  • Step one: understanding that brand is the impression you leave in the heads of your customers after they have engaged with you.
  • Step two: making sure that this image cuts through the clutter and connects with people in a fresh, authentic and empathetic way.

Create a unique message

Unfortunately, as a recent McKinsey report indicates, leading B2B suppliers continue to show a herd mentality, using similar brand themes and communication. How can you differentiate your brand and improve its visibility and recognizability if your message and your brand image are the same as those of your rivals?

“B2B suppliers continue to show a herd mentality, using similar brand themes and communication.”

How it’s done

Amid the global economic crisis of 2008, IBM began a conversation with the world about the promise of a smarter planet. In 2014, the ‘Made With IBM’ campaign showed the company’s progress as an essential partner in providing technology building blocks for the new world at work. Ten years later IBM’s ‘Smarter Planet’ still tells a story that clearly differentiates the company and the brand, inviting its clients to “put smart to work”.

A few years ago Deme, a world leader in the fields of dredging and land reclamation operating in over 90 countries worldwide, united all of its subsidiaries under one flag, with a distinctive (re)branding and the overarching brand theme of “creating land for the future”, a promise that still rings true today; and creates opportunities for tomorrow.

Why does it matter?

Banning the bore, and instead delivering a different, consistent brand message is essential to create effective brand communication with all your stakeholders. In B2B as much as anywhere else. Robust, inspiring branding – with a strong promise, a unique personality and identity – will not only allow you to stand out of the crowd.

It will also give direction company-wide, even if you are operating on a global scale. A clear brand purpose will align your employees. And, once they turn into brand ambassadors, they will enhance the customer experience and, as a consequence, drive preference, accelerate growth and boost the bottom line.