Should Brand Building be Part of Your B2B Strategy?
Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos was once quoted saying, “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” In building a brand, he is now the first centibillionaire on Forbes’ wealth index.
Say what you want about Bezos, but results speak volumes.
In marketing, branding counts. It is the identity of your company. It gives your business a face and a voice. And in order to enhance that face and make that voice heard louder around the world, brand building must be a priority, particularly in digital marketing.
In B2C marketing, it’s no secret that branding is everything. Ask any top marketer globally, and he’ll tell you that with B2C, the concepts of storytelling and creativity are beyond important. They set the tone for a company’s brand.
But how does that work with B2B marketing? Does brand building matter? Should it be a part of a marketing strategy?
More and more marketers are leaning toward giving the idea a thumbs up in B2B. According to a LinkedIn report, “The 5 Principles of Growth in B2B Marketing,” marketers must begin shifting efforts toward long-term brand building. There always has been a focus on short-term activation activity, but the report suggests investing in brand building.
A quick definition: Single Grain defines brand building as “the process of generating awareness and promotion of the services of a company through direct advertising campaigns or through sponsorship.” To be successful, one must strategize cohesion between a company and its intended audience, and also provide value in an effort to feel the brand at its peak.
That makes perfect sense in B2C. To some, not so much with B2B. But according to a Marketing Week article supports the argument that this antiquated train of thought must cease.
“Businesspeople do not park their emotions and personality in a cardboard box when they come to work and buy products and services,” Steve Hemsley wrote. “In fact, the way people interact with B2B brands is incredibly similar to how they engage with B2C brands. This means creativity, storytelling and long-term brand building are just as important as a product’s features and price.”
Marketing consultant Peter Field, one half of the well-known marketing research duo Binet & Field, adds: “There are huge similarities between B2B and B2C when it comes to brand, but many B2B marketers need to revise their approach. Brand advertising really does work in B2B to drive buyer choices and revenues.
“Brands need a creative storytelling element because it is not enough to rely solely on rational product messaging. There has to be clear differentiation and a narrative that taps into business buyers’ emotions.”
The skeptics in marketing may just have a misconstrued view of the overall effect. In dealing with a fundamental B2C rule, according to The Drum, brands that “set their share of voice (share of all category advertising expenditure) above their share of market, will tend to grow.”
The arguments for brand building in B2B marketing stand taller each day. You can build market share. You can gain new customers and keep the existing customers engaged. You can also create advertising campaigns that are extensive.
In short, B2B marketers must think longterm and focus on adapting and adjusting. Short-term activation activity is still important in B2B, but having a healthy balance to include brand building is vital in marketing growth.