(b) 2b or not 2b

Some of the world’s strongest brands are B2B. Companies like IBM, FedEx, Boeing, General Electric and Oracle are all primarily business-to-business brands as opposed to business-to-consumer. Despite these well-known names, brand management in typical B2B companies is rarely as well executed as it is in the typical B2C company. Business-to-business organizations rely more often on functional descriptions of their capabilities whereas business-to-consumer companies are more likely to emphasize emotional experiences that lead to brand preference.

Making a sale in a B2B company is a more complex interaction than in a B2C company and yet purchasing departments are run by people who make choices based on symbolic as well as pragmatic attributes. After all, your brand is nothing more than a person’s gut feeling about your company. As Waldemar Pfoertsch, professor of business at Pforzheim (Germany) University said, “Successful B2B brand communication requires sales strategies that incorporate brand values that appeal to the social and psychological as well as the rational concerns of the different organizational buyers involved.”

B2B companies often assume their prospects are inherently interested in the products or services they offer, when in fact most prospects are really only interested in a solution to their problems. A B2B brand strategy must address the specific needs of the customer, learned through customer interaction and research.

Fortunately it is usually much less expensive to implement a defined brand strategy in the B2B space than in B2C, because the message is directed toward a more specific audience. Most of modern8’s clients are B2B. Our core competencies are brand strategy and design, which fit perfectly with the needs of B2B.