Is there any difference between B2B and B2C branding? Is branding needed for B2B companies in general? We are going to answer these questions in this article and give you an example of a successful B2B branding case.
Is branding necessary for companies in the B2B sector?
Many years ago, it was believed that in the B2B sector, it was possible to work without branding. That was the conditions of the market those days: moderate competition, and fewer opportunities for communication. But let’s face it, even then, such a statement was quite controversial.
Today branding for companies from the B2B sector is needed: competition has grown and will continue to grow further. With it, the need to stand out against competitors and communicate the advantages of your product in an elegant but precise way. And we need to act fast.
Or your competitors will get there first!
What are the differences between B2B and B2C branding?
There is no significant difference. Companies in the B2B sector need market research, up-to-date positioning, development of brand identity, and brand communication. The needs depend on the current needs of a particular company. But there are some necessaries for any sector of business:
- know what to work with to close these needs;
- to understand whether the company’s goals and objectives are correctly defined for the creative agency.
Unfortunately, it is not always obvious.
B2B branding. Case study: Freeza Group
Moloko Creative Agency has successful experience in re-setting goals in the client’s interest. Let’s have a look at one of the cases.
Freeza Group approached us to rebrand the logo and some of the details of the corporate style, but after a series of interviews, we concluded that the company had a demand for growth in marketing.
Freeza Group is a leading manufacturer in the CIS market of night thermal insulation curtains and glass systems for commercial refrigeration equipment. The company was founded in 2012.
Freeza Group today is a modern, high-tech production with a wide range of products, fulfilling all requirements and technical regulations of the EURASEC customs union.
Freeza Group, for ten years of existence on the market, grew from the image of the simple sub-contractor and was no longer ready to play the role of «expenditures». Therefore, we set a new goal — to reach potential clients that Freeza was a reliable partner and had enough knowledge and expertise to complete and help with their client’s projects.
Our objectives were adjusted:
- develop a communication strategy and positioning
- redesign the logo
- redesign the brand identity
We started with a strategic phase, developing a new positioning concept, «We Help you Earn». We emphasized the main advantages of cooperation with Freeza Group: durability of products, better price-quality ratio, and diversified production.
During the creative phase, the logo was redesigned, and the brand identity was strengthened, complemented by the relevant meanings for the company.
Thus, we managed to refresh the identity and logo and lead the company from the common niche of refrigeration equipment to its unique niche of thermal insulation coatings.
After detailed communication, our strategist is ready to tell you exactly what your brand needs.
Contact us, and we can help you stand out from your competitors.
Are there differences between B2B and B2C branding?
We have already found that brand promotion is done in two stages: strategic and creative regardless of sector. However, it is not that simple. Several differences need to be considered for branding to work.
Let’s talk about these differences.
In the B2C sector, in most cases, the client base is vast, and brands do not aim to please everyone. The primary goal is to increase the recognition of a company or product among as many people as possible. In developing the positioning, the emphasis is not on the individual but on whole groups segmented by sex, age, marital status, habits, and others.
Working in the B2B sector, we do not communicate with the masses but with concrete individuals or groups making responsible decisions. There are fewer customers, but the value of these is indisputably higher. The loss of one customer in B2C is unlikely to be noticeable. Losing a customer to B2B is a much riskier story. Therefore, brands need to check their niche compliance carefully and respond to all requests of potential customers. According to Marketo’s «The State of Engagement» report, three out of four B2B clients believe that brands must deeply understand their needs to engage them successfully.
Does your business match the needs of the target audience? We know how to test it.
B2C implies a short-term relationship between the customer and the seller, with purchases often being isolated.
Branding in B2B focuses on laying the foundation for long-term relationships with clients. Therefore, the development of the strategy should be based on building the basis for a long and fruitful partnership.
There are considerably more meeting points in the B2C sector. The brand communicates with the audience through product packaging, advertising banners, TV advertisements, social media, and others. This allows brands to be more memorable by introducing themselves into the lives and lives of the target audience. To put it simply, by buying advertising, B2C brands can constantly be present in the information field of a potential client.
B2B has fewer meeting points, so it is necessary to carefully work out each of them: the client should get maximum information about the brand at first acquaintance with it. There may not be a second chance for a «meeting». Another distinguishing feature of B2B branding is that the point of contact here can be real people: company employees, managers, and top management.
Motivation to buy
In the B2C sector, customers can make purchases for rational reasons, but brands still appeal to consumers’ emotions and desires. The purchase of a good or service must solve a problem, be free of fear, or prevent the need to emphasize high status. Purchasing decisions here are made quickly.
In the B2B sector, decision-making is based on logic and calculation. Purchasing decisions are slow. Emotions take a back seat to objective facts, numbers, and statistics. But even here, there may be a tiny emotional component because people — not machines, make decisions.
Marketers from the B2C sector know very well what «impulse purchase» is. This is an instantaneous decision to buy a product without fully understanding its strengths and weaknesses. For example, an impulsive purchase may be induced by bright and attractive packaging, small size and separability of goods, and by reference to pleasure.
In the B2B sector, the probability of an impulse purchase is zero. The purchase of equipment for tens of thousands of dollars is done thoughtfully. The decision is most often taken collectively and after a complex discussion.
We can only talk about its advantages and benefits by providing information about a product or service in B2C. The consumer does not need to know how, say, the complex mechanism of a lawnmower works — unless this is a competitive advantage, of course.
Product information in B2B is a different story. Here, it is essential to maintain expertise, emphasize a convincing presentation of the product, and create the impression of a reliable partner. No more lyrics, no more praise, no more excitement. For example, according to Marketo’s 2017 report, the main reason why up to 34% of customers have little interaction with B2B companies is that marketers send them too much irrelevant content.
But that’s not all. Mitto, in collaboration with Demand Metric, states in its report that 64% of marketers expect a substantial increase in customer demand for B2B content as early as 2022.
Therefore, potential clients responsible for decision-making should already receive detailed information about the product, its strengths, and the real and tangible benefits of cooperation — and nothing extra.
Creativity, trends, and experiments
The vital advantage of the B2C sector is more space for creativity and visible decisions. Companies can boldly adjust strategies once every 1-3 years and experiment with trends to attract and expand the target audience.
In some exceptional cases, even a poor reputation can benefit by increasing product/service recognition and drawing attention to the brand. For example, provocative advertising of a product of mass consumption will quickly dissolve into information noise, but the recognition of the product will remain.
B2B branding is more conservative and less dynamic. Therefore, it is often not advisable to follow current trends: trends are rapidly losing relevance and sometimes turn into anti-trends.
Communication experiments are not welcome. We already know that in B2B the target audience is very narrow, and if communication has not responded to it, there are risks of losing potential clients and not bringing them back. This is primarily because B2B is less frequent and carefully weighed. And the reputation of the partners plays a primary role.
Two important points from this paper are:
- There are no significant differences in the promotion algorithms between B2B and B2C branding. However, essential details need to be considered to make branding work.
- Working with a creative agency is beneficial for designing a beautiful logo or corporate style. In addition, it can open the possibility for practical customer analysis and search for new directions for business growth.