General Manager FutureBrand Spain
The answer is yes, and I would even go as far as to say it is even more important for a B2B company that for a B2C company.
There are two phenomena that have made B2B companies change their approach and their handling within the company of its most important intangible asset: the brand.
- The first of these has been the creation and proliferation of new brands created in recent years. Whether for motives of business diversification, or geographical expansion, the truth is that both factors have led to companies creating brands that are not entirely necessary or not in line with their business strategy. This has given rise to the fact that many B2B companies are at present focusing on reorientation and reorganisation of their brands to endow their portfolio with more coherence and consistency.
- The second of these is “infoxication.” Globalisation, the accessibility and availability of internet have meant that all kinds of companies, whatever the sector in which they operate and whatever their brands are, have had the need to communicate at some point, even if it has only has only been through a website. This has resulted in a dizzying increase in communication and in the saturated and literal “infoxication” of all the target audiences, that is to say, they are intoxicated by over excessive communication. This phenomenon has led all companies, B2B or B2C, and their brands, to go down the path of trying to be different in order to grab the attention of their target audiences within this overwhelming din.
Are the brands that target a B2C end consumer different than the brands that target other B2B companies or their management? In a short, quick answer, NO.
Brands are emotions that persuade and mobilise their target audiences, whichever these are. Companies are made up of people and the trade relations between them are also undertaken by people, and people have emotions. Hence, it is very important that brands of B2B companies also have an important emotional component, which until recently was the exclusive preserve of brands directed at end consumers.
What it is important to note is that, as well as advertising the brand and investing in it, it represents the company and is the flagship of its values and aspirations in an ever more demanding world.
Within the environment of B2B companies brands create confidence and legitimise the decision maker. It is common that the decision maker may prefer to choose to minimise their personal risk within the organisation and prefer “to make a mistake” with a worse deal with someone who is well known than to risk making a better deal with someone who is not well known.
The brand is therefore a reason for choice and influences purchasing decisions, thus creating equity for the business.
What must a B2B do in order to create a brand?
1.- Align brand strategy with the business strategy of the company. Given the business objectives we wish to achieve in the coming years, we will know in which of them the brand can help us to achieve them, turning it into an additional business tool.
2.- Identify the target audience. With the business objectives as a starting point, define a brand strategy that is relevant to the target audiences; to do this, it is essential to know who we are targeting and so adapt ourselves and speak their language. It is very important, to be clear about who our customers are and identify the best way to reach them and to connect with them before undertaking any commercial activity.
3.- Define a brand strategy, values and positioning that is distinct and sustainable. Within the sector and category in which the company operates, we must analyse the competing brands to identify their values and positioning, which will ensure that our message is distinct, and at the same time the company has to commit itself to supporting and sustaining this message over time, without letting itself be defeated by the short-term demands.
4.- Both the name and identity must capitalise on the identified strategy of the brand. In this way, we reflect our values through our name and the image that represents our company and we offer our products and services in such a way that our public identifies with and purchases them.
5.- Have a portfolio of brands that meets the requirements of our public objectives and our business strategy. There is no need to create brands simply by merit of the fact that the company is diversifying or entering a new market.
6.- Be coherent and consistent. Nowadays this is perhaps one of the most arduous brand tasks, given that we have to ensure that our brand is displayed and advertised to all its target audiences and through all points of contact in a coherent and consistent manner, reflecting its values and positioning, and not allowing itself to be overcome by the demands of the short-term, or by frugal changes in business strategy .