Get a grip on B2B branding

Brigid McMullen & Alec Rattray
The Workroom

Consumer marketers know that brand is the key influencer of customer choice, creating loyalty, attracting, motivating and retaining talent. Branding adds value by stemming product and service substitution, copying and commoditisation. Brigid McMullen and Alec Rattray offer five pointers for getting full value from B2B brands.

Great brands establish demand, achieve higher returns and make predicting future growth more likely. As a result, they are a key driver for acquisitions and sales. Everyone prefers a business or brand that is authentically different and relevant.

This is all well evidenced in the B2C market – so what holds back many B2B companies from building meaningful and genuinely distinctive brands?

With a few exceptions, most B2B brands tend toward the generic and dull (and blue). Marketing and communications focus on category benefits, not corporate characteristics. They use the bland vocabulary of 'solutions' and 'preferred partners', are uninspiringly familiar, and tap into conventional and 'off-the-shelf' visual language. They completely fail to shape a reputation for being genuinely distinctive and are unable to build real value. This usually leads to a reliance on tactical sales and cost promotions, diminishing perceived value even further.