B2B marketing: Humanise the B2B brand

Jeremy Katz and Andy Jones
Ogilvy & Mather

Two iconic B2B companies – IBM and DuPont – are using content marketing to create a human connection to their brands, reflecting the insight that business consumers are influenced, and act similarly, as when shopping for themselves.

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In their new book Absolute Value, two well-known marketing thinkers, Itamar Simonson and Emanuel Rosen, make the case that the hegemony of the brand is coming to an end, due to the widespread availability of information. Brands, they argue, took the place of perfect information and gave consumers the tools they need to make decisions. Now, excellent information is everywhere, and Simonson and Rosen maintain that, rather than being overwhelmed by it, we're finding the answers to our questions with relative ease. This enables buyers to assess what the authors call the 'absolute value' of a product or service. Not surprisingly, such a counterintuitive stance has attracted widespread attention, leading well-known finance and business writer James Surowiecki to claim in his New Yorker column that we were seeing the "Twilight of the Brands".