Why a strong brand is important for the future of b2b organisations

Welcome to the Keel insights

B2B organisations, particularly those in highly complex or specialist industries, are facing a turning point. Whether they are ready for it or not, a shift is coming in the way that these businesses shape their messages; communicate with their customers and purchase decision-makers; and add value and reassurance across their purchase cycle and relationship management. The foundation starts with branding – and developing a brand that is fit for the changing landscape is the first step to future-proof your business.

Preparing your brand for a new era of b2b sales

Covid-19 has brought about a rapid acceleration in digital adoption, and an equal shift in consumer behaviour. Not only has it impacted the way we interact and connect with brands, but consumers are also expecting more than just products and services. This is subsequently driving a significant change for the B2B market.

B2B brands, like all brands now, are expected to have a clear purpose that goes beyond providing a good product at a good price. B2B brand stories today need to demonstrate values as well as value. And just as consumers are expecting seamless online journeys and a customer experience that’s intuitive and personalised, so too are businesses. After all, businesses are still selling to individuals – whether they are representing a company or not, they are translating their experience as a consumer into expectations as a B2B buyer.

A widespread shift to digital means the time for change is now

According to a survey by McKinsey in October 2020, ‘more than three quarters of buyers and sellers say they now prefer digital self-serve and remote human engagement over face-to-face interactions.’ And that preference is not just for Covid security reasons, McKinsey found. Customers have discovered that an on-line-only sales journey has big advantages in B2B.

A surge in demand for online sales and services has created expectations across every customer touchpoint. And this is not limited to any one industry – these consumer demands for convenient self-serve and remote interactions is disrupting markets globally. This means that businesses need to rethink the way they attract and engage their audience using these new channels, which is where a focus on branding will be key. However, B2B organisations have been notoriously slow to adapt to such practices – but they are now faced with a tipping point. Those businesses that implement the right strategies will set themselves up for future success, but those who don’t are at risk of becoming irrelevant.

An increased focus on purposevalues and business behaviour

As we highlighted in our insight ‘How to instil and convey genuine brand purpose’eight in 10 global consumers say purpose is at least as important to them as Customer Experience. Consumer brands are faced with a race to meet demands around purpose, sustainability, diversity, and authenticity, and stand to lose significant revenue if they fail to incorporate these considerations in their overall brand and proposition. And while consumer facing brands have an increased focus on purpose and values – implementing strict policies for things like sustainability and diversity – they are looking at their suppliers and service providers to align with these policies. With this increased scrutiny on supply chains, B2B companies need to think about how their brand is setup to support the goals of their clients. A US report from Association of National Advertisers (ANA) titled ‘The B2B Purpose Paradox’, showed that 86% of B2B companies believe purpose is important to growth, but only 24% have embedded it into their day-to-day operations. This presents a huge opportunity for B2B brands to differentiate their positioning and stand out – but it also shows how far behind some businesses are. Realising that purpose is more than just a PR stunt and working your true purpose into your branding is how B2B companies can work to increase engagement and drive new revenue streams.

The results of our work in action

Hot off the press is the brand transformation work we conducted for Güntner, a world-leading manufacturer of refrigeration and heat exchange products with a strong global presence. Our work started with their brand positioning – giving them a purpose, unique brand claim, value proposition and internal values. This work was fundamental in establishing a significant shift in the way they think about their business and set them up to move from thinking in a product centric way to a more solutions based, visionary and future focussed outlook.

Out of the brand platform came a new, refreshed visual identity and tone of voice, which was applied to all content and communications. The new brand was embedded into the organisation with a Leadership Training programme and launched to the outside world with a brand campaign and global website in multiple languages.

Our branding framework to drive future growth

As we’ve demonstrated, we help B2B and complex organisations to reconsider the role that brand plays in their organisation. Our process covers the following strategic elements that will set your business up for success:

  • A brand positioning that is true to the core of the business and shapes the day-to-day activity and future ambitions of the business into a single-minded intention
  • A clearly articulated brand purpose that gives customers confidence in the effectiveness of the business, the purpose that unites it, and starts a conversation beyond product and price
  • A brand identity (visual and verbal) that presents the business confidently and effectively, without a member of the organisation there to sell it, creating the desired impression of the business quickly and coherently.
  • Sharp, considered messaging and positions on industry subjects (current and future) forming the basis for content that demonstrates the business’ purpose in action – not just communicates it.
  • The tools in place to create a branded, scalable digital and outbound experience that is relevant, modern, quality, consistent and coherent.

If you need help to adapt your B2B branding for a rapidly evolving market and setup for future growth, we have a tried and tested methodology. Speak to us today and we’d be happy to discuss your business requirements.