Consumers are just part of the picture. Are brands as important when your business is B2B? The answer is yes, and here’s why…
We can all cite references to successful consumer brands like Nike, Starbucks and Bonds, but when asked to identify a strong B2B brand we stumble a bit. There are several reasons for this – mostly related to reach – you can buy the world a Coke, but not everyone wants that new software application to manage customer relationships! Another reason is that our perception of brands has been shaped by the permeation of consumer brands into our culture since the 1950s.
Traditionally consumer brands seek to influence emotional connections with a product. So how do you emotionally connect with a CRM application? When the sales pitch goes beyond features and benefits, the decision to buy boils down to: “Do I want to do business with that company?”
I have talked about why it is important to keep a clear distinction around what you do and who you are (go here to read that blog), but it is worth repeating – people buy things from companies, not from products. Seems obvious I know, but it is amazing how many people forget to look to the deeper reasons their company exists.
But beyond that basic rule, you still have to build connections to your customers in order for them to buy your products and services. And in a B2B environment that can be a tough proposition. But why? In reality, it is still people on the other end who are making the buying decision, and like it or not we are both emotional and rational creatures.
You can appeal to my intellect (and you should), but if you don’t also engage my emotions, the sale is going to someone who does. Granted, finding the emotional ties to something like office supply products might seem like a stretch, but as anyone who has ever hit print only to find themselves out of toner will tell you, emotions do play a part!
If you want to explore more on building brand with emotional connections try this link as a place to start.
A speech by Kevin Roberts, worldwide CEO of Saatchi and Saatchi for Fast Company magazine about the untapped potential of emotions in business. You can also visit the Lovemarks web site and put your own brand through the “lovemarker”.
See you next week!
Alignment is Michel’s passion. Through her work with Brandology here in Australia, and Brand Alignment Group in the United States, she helps organisations align who they are, with what they do and say to build more authentic and sustainable brands.
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