b2b branding

B2B Branding Tips For The New Buyer

Over the past few years, B2B business has seen a dramatic shift in the decision makers involved in purchasing. Now more than ever before Millennials are at the forefront of the company decisions especially when it comes to purchasing. According to a survey conducted by Google 2015 was the first year that nearly half of all B2B purchase influencers were Millennials. This shift impacts not only the B2B branding message but where that message is displayed as well since most Millennials spend a majority of their day online.

One of the biggest differences between Millennials and decision makers in the past is how they evaluate and research potential purchases. The same traditional advertising that worked on baby boomers is not going to work on Millennials and chances are they’re much further down in the purchase funnel before they even contact you. Thanks to the Internet and social media, decision makers do their own research on what they need, want, and whom they want to work with.

With more than 87 percent of online Millennials using Facebook and other social media sites, it’s imperative that your business has a strong social media and online presence however it’s not as simple as setting up pages and scheduling out posts. Millennials are looking for brands that are approachable, easy to navigate and as odd as this sounds more human.  Even in this hyper-connected world people still want to be connected with real people, especially in B2B transactions. The most successful B2B companies have utilized their social media pages to reach out directly to their customers and build a sense of community with their brand and customers. It’s extremely important to assure your audience that you or your team of people will be there for them and that you can solve some of their pain points.

Read more on Using Your Brand Story To Reach Millennials In Business.

So, how does a brand convey all of this to their audience? Here are 4 things you should be talking about in your B2B branding:

Have a Purpose

Many argue that this is more geared to B2C businesses but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Showing your company culture and your core values, or the reason why you do what you do is just as important in B2B marketing. Millennials more than any other audience are looking to work with companies that leave a positive impact on the world or those that have a great story about how they started.  Your brand values such as your mission statement and communication style will help create a personality and purpose behind your brand.

Read more on improving your B2B customer experience.

Knowledge

Potential customers are looking to solve a problem and they need to be confident that you will be able to solve it for them. Showing that you’re an authoritative source is one of the most important parts of your B2B branding.

Service

B2B buyers want someone that’s going to still make them feel that they have a 1 to 1 relationship even if they never communicate with you directly. Show them that you’re a company with real people who are willing to go the extra mile to get the job done.

Dependability

Showing that you can be depended on will take your brand messaging far. B2B buyers need to know that they can depend on you to get the job done so they can focus on other parts of their business. They don’t want to feel that they need to micromanage your work.

This generation is looking to be proud of who they purchase from. Today’s world is so much more transparent and connected and Millennials are not only used to that they expect you to be as well. It’s important that they are proud of who they buy from. By using ‘story branding’ companies can set a tone and feel for who they are and why they do what they do. With buyers getting inundated with so many screens and messages, stories help keep your B2B branding clear to your audience. The story with the strongest messaging that delivers an authentic feeling will stand out from the crowd. At the end of the day, B2B buyers are still, in fact, people and people love a good story.

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b2b marketing strategy

Integrating Story Branding With Your B2B Marketing Strategy

Marketers have realized that their audiences’ attention spans are getting shorter by the day. In an effort to get it back, they resort to anything to engage them: humor, sex, etc. However, it is one thing to get involved in a commercial and another to get involved in a brand. Successful brands market by forging a deeper emotional connection using story branding which is a part of attraction marketing.

In a technique called The Hero’s Quest, they create a story with a hero, a conflict, and a resolution. The hero has a certain drive like love that leads him to action past certain barriers and eventual conquest. Generating emotional connection with the story is what sells. To be successful in B2B marketing strategy, make your brand the hero of your own story.

Where story branding and marketing integrate:

Distinction

Consumers have vast amounts of choice today but are drawn to the one they can relate to. Distinction is vital in any marketing strategy. A good, realistic brand story enhances a brand’s overall presence regardless of its competitive position in the industry. The right perception hits the audiences’ emotional quotient, tipping it in your favor. Wrapping up your brand in a more meaningful story context further adds value to it. To fellow businesses, buying your product will mean getting higher utility compared to the others in the competition.

Humanizing your brand

A successful B2B marketing strategy is one that humanizes your brand. A brand story cannot be underestimated in doing the job. Individual experiences like those of Steve Jobs, when fed into a company message, go a long way in personalizing and even achieving celebrity like status for your brand. You can use employee or your founder experience for this. Although you cannot have complete control of your story, a little positive twist helps to strengthen it by making it more interesting. Your marketing strategy is even boosted further as a result. A story should be a corporate persuasion tool that leads your audience to you.

Read more on 4 Strategies For Improving Your B2B Customer Experience.

Emotion is more compelling than a straight fact

In spoken word, good oratory skills are regarded highly and can be more compelling when they involve more emotion than fact. Arousing an audiences’ emotion can create big turnaround in your brand path. The Royal navy for example, uses stories to boost confidence and productivity where it is expected of the military to have a tough, factual approach to communication. That B2B cannot use warm and emotive storytelling is not a true rationale. Make your story more willingly received and memorable to achieve greater marketing success.

Interplay

There is a two way exchange between telling a story and marketing success. Story branding strengthens your business whereas a good, stronger business performance reinforces your story. Similarly, poor performance becomes part of your brand story just as easily. A B2B marketing strategy can be shaped but success will always depended on perception. Story branding is one way of building this perception.

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Here’s Where B-to-B Marketers Should Invest In 2016

Jon Russo | Forbes | Dec 7, 2015

At a recent New York City gathering of 40 senior business-to-business marketing executives of the Marketing Operations Cross Company Alliance (MOCCA), the hottest 2016 marketing-planning topics were one, people, and two, investing an incremental dollar in—you guessed it—data. Read more

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Evaluating Your B2B Marketing Strategies

Today’s marketplace is far different than even just a few years ago. New and emerging technologies continue to change the media landscape, and purchasers continue to change their attitude and how they make buying decisions. These are all factors that can affect your company’s ongoing success. This makes it even more important for you to take a good hard look at your marketing initiatives regularly. In order to move forward, you must consistently evaluate and update your B2B marketing strategies, programs and processes. Read more