There is plenty of brand preaching in the marketing world. Every company is looking to build its brand, be “top of the mind” of its consumers, and improve its ROI.
But how does branding exactly help you achieve your marketing goals, especially increasing sales and growing your B2B business?
Does branding match up to all the hype?
More importantly, does your B2B business really need it even if there’s truth in the hype?
While the ‘noise’ around branding is certainly valid, it has, somewhere, diluted its meaning, and hence, power.
We explore branding for B2B businesses in particular in this article so that you can find clarity, purpose, and meaning in it. We will look at it from the lens of both the company and the consumers.
Why Does Branding Matter For Your B2B Company?
B2B companies had traditionally favored R&D and sales over brand marketing. This approach served the purpose for many years until the marketing landscape changed forever with the advent of digital technologies. With the target audiences now predominantly online, B2B companies can engage with them on multiple digital channels. In the digital world, marketplaces are continually changing and traditional barriers to entry are no longer as relevant.
In this world of digital behavior, branding is more important than ever for B2B companies. One of the chief reasons branding is still relevant today is that brand loyalty still makes a difference between engagement and non-engagement. Consider these statistics by the International Council of Shopping Centers’ (ICSC) survey in the B2C markets:
82% of Americans are loyal to a product brand.
While this might be the case in B2C markets, it is no different in the B2B marketplace. In fact, the only difference is that the brand loyalists in the B2B industry are the key decision-makers in your targeted clientele.
A powerful brand messaging can help to:
- Keep your customers engaged
- Align with your customer’s values and beliefs
- Differentiate your offerings
- Amplify demand
- Lower the cost of sales
- Command a price premium
- Improve stakeholder confidence
- Provide insulation from intermediate setbacks
While these are some of the many benefits that brand marketing brings to your B2B business, the question remains: How does branding correlate to conversions and sales?
Decoding Brand Dynamics For B2B Companies
We will get to the bottom of this question by understanding the evolution of branding, its impact on consumer psychology, and how brand marketing directly affects your sales and ROI.
At the outset, people perceive branding as the creation of an image around your company. But branding runs deeper than perception. In fact, branding is not even about the creation of a perception or an image. Branding today is all about authenticity.
It explains why the old rules of creating a brand image no longer work. It’s not enough to be on top of the consumer’s mind.
Branding, today, is about authenticity, alleviating if not solving problems, and being an intrinsic part of the consumer community. Let’s dig deeper!
B2B consumers aren’t listening to your sales teams or believing every claim you make on your website or social platforms. Today’s consumers are astute to look for more details at the click of a button.
Your consumers are listening to your brand as much as you stay attuned to social listening. They are forming wholesome opinions and images about your brand even after you’ve sketched it for them.
They are actively listening to what their peers are talking about your brand. They are reading your online testimonials, not on your website alone, but on other consumer review websites.
If there is a match between what you’re promising and what other consumers claim that you’re offering, then your target clientele will approach you to learn more.
But if there is a mismatch between your claims and their findings, they will look elsewhere and switch to another brand.
Here are some questions for you to introspect:
- Is there an alignment in what your brand is conveying, what it is being perceived as, and what it truly is?
- Maybe it’s time to look at what others are saying about your brand. Are there certain negative reviews you need to look into?
- Maybe it’s time to look into your content marketing efforts and check if it’s in alignment with your branding. Perhaps you need to re-evaluate your brand messaging.
The brand marketing dynamics have changed as now, the consumer is in the driver’s seat of all your branding efforts.
Branding allows you to help identify and reduce, if not solve, people’s problems. Fully engaged and loyal customers are more likely to refer your brand to others. Branding can turn your customers into advocates, leading to better ROI and business growth.
Branding inspires your customers to pay attention and take action. And that can only happen when you are listening to them and delivering relevant and targeted content. Improving your current engagement levels with your customers leads to increased ROI. That’s the pure essence of branding. It inspires action.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, you can not only track ROI but also attribute ROI to the various phases of your sales funnel. They shared the following statistics:
- 71% of B2B marketers felt that their content marketing is sophisticated/ mature.
- 74% of B2B marketers felt the value their content provided was a top factor.
One respondent in the CMI 2022 B2B Research shared,
“We increased our empathy toward our audience and found them to be more receptive.”
Branded content tailored to specific phases of your buyer’s journey improves engagement and sales. You can even see how providing actionable, curated content directly affects your branding at every phase of your sales funnel.
At Webtage, we track and measure our branding efforts with the below metrics to name a few:
- Branded Keyword searches
- Social Media Mentions
- Social media Engagements
- Social Media Reach
- Branded Paid searches Engagement (CTR, Conversions)
Branding, content, and actions share an intimate relationship that’s successful when it’s based on empathy for your customers. Effective tailored content taps into empathy, helping you fix your customers’ pain points, offer value, build relationships, and earn trust, which propels action.
Today, branding calls for being an intrinsic part of the consumer community. This is backed by research studies as well. 49% report better ROI by investing in relationships over acquisition marketing as per the second annual Cross-Channel Marketing Report.
B2B Branding matters because companies act just like people when it comes to evaluating a purchase decision. That means, alongside their logical reasons for buying your products and services, they are also overcome with powerful emotional impulses that can influence their purchase decision. An effective branding strategy will tap into the totality of their buyers’ reasons and motivations.
Brands drive B2B business by triggering their emotions and forming meaningful relationships. Emotional messages are more likely to create memorable bonds with your customers.
A case in point is Yvon Chouinard giving up the ownership of his company, Patagonia to the Holdfast Collective (98%) and the Patagonia Purpose Trust (2%). Patagonia is still a for-profit business, as it stands committed to creating the best quality products and preserving its financial health to support its biggest stakeholder – The Earth and its people, including its employees and customers.
A Strong Brand Can Prove To Be Your Business’ Biggest Insulation
A strong B2B brand can solve many problems before and when they occur. A well-respected and liked brand can be the only thing keeping your biggest client. As this article elucidates, the efforts into B2B brand marketing will eventually prove to be valuable and help ease those occasional low, bumpy transitions in your business.