B2B Companies Need Brand Building For Growth

B2B Companies Need Brand Building For Growth
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In this guest post, Drew Usher (main photo), strategy director at Hotwire, argues there’s no difference between B2B customers and B2C ones and asks why do we market them differently?

There are still some B2B companies, particularly in the tech space, who don’t see branding as a valuable investment.

In short – it absolutely is. In our previous article we discussed what branding is – and why it’s vital to the bottom line of tech companies (or indeed, any company).

In this one, we’ll explore branding, consumers, and trust associations. Let’s get into it.

There’s no difference between B2B and B2C consumers

When making purchasing decisions, humans consume information similarly – whether that purchase is professional or personal. Latest research backs that, as 77 per cent of B2B marketing leaders say branding is critical to growth, so thinking B2C brands need good branding, while B2B ones don’t is misguided.

Humans are naturally programmed to make decisions using the least amount of energy possible. This means defaulting to the subconscious for 98 per cent of our daily decisions, and if a brand comes to mind in the subconscious, and has all the right associations, then the decision is made there and then.

Brands that have good awareness, trust and recall will of course naturally stand out over those that don’t – regardless of the purchasing environment.

Therefore, B2B brands still need to connect with people, albeit via different channels, about a product or service their business may benefit from. Yet the principles of understanding real human needs, and connecting with customers on an emotional level is just as relevant for B2B brands as it is for B2C.

Marketing Week reports that B2B brands fare better with customers when they use emotive rather than rational marketing messages. After all, we are all human beings – and we don’t become an inherently different person when we go to work!

B2B tech brands need to engage hearts, as well as heads, and brand building can help businesses to adopt that essential ‘people before product’ construct.

Trust is trust

Brand trust is bandied about, but how many companies really understand what it means and why it’s important?

Brand trust is the willingness of consumers to believe a brand will do what it says it’s going to do. This is true across B2B and B2C. It’s more than a ‘nice to have’ – it has a direct impact on the bottom line.

When people trust a brand, they are more likely to purchase from that brand – and keep purchasing. In other words, they are more likely to be loyal.

Statistics abound in this space, however, 81 per cent of consumers report they need to be able to trust the brand in order to buy from them and 77 per cent of consumers buy from brands who share the same values as they do.

Around 75 per cent of global consumers say they will continue to buy a brand they trust, even if another brand suddenly becomes higher profile. They’ll also recommend the brand to their networks. More than half also say they are happy to pay more for a brand’s products/services if they trust the brand.

Top of mind

The point of branding is to build associations and awareness, and keep your brand top of mind. It is not about fluffy colours, it’s about ensuring your brand is strong, stands for something, and is consistently applied across channels, to aid recall.

Research shows consistent presentation of a brand can increase revenue by 33 per cent. Forbes reports B2B companies with brands that are perceived as strong, generate a higher EBIT margin than others. Finally, brands that are consistently presented are three to four times more likely to experience brand visibility.

The principles of ‘people before product’ are a universal brand construct which can be applied to all tech companies, irrespective of which stage of growth they are at. It’s about ensuring people feel emotionally connected to your brand first, before engaging them in product attributes and benefits.

Building the brand strategy is the best springboard for a tech business to drive growth. Don’t believe it’s not for you just because you are a B2B brand.

 

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Drew Usher Hotwire

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