Keeping It RealIn today’s instant message, Twitter and Instagram societies, people are quick to respond that they “kept it real.” That vernacular means a person stayed true to their core beliefs… especially when facing adversity. We reserve a special place in our hearts for people who keep it real… who place value on being authentic. In fact, pop culture, music, history and business all have examples of people keeping it real. Romeo and Juliet kept it real by dying for their eternal love. In the movie Braveheart, William Wallace (played by Mel Gibson) kept it real by shouting “Freedom!” as he was being executed by the British. Cardi B started as an uber-authentic Instagram personality—where fans came to love how she keeps it real—before reaching her current level of stardom. And Elon Musk tries to keep it real by sticking it to the traditional automobile industry with Tesla. These individuals and instances resonate profoundly with most people. Branding in the service business-to-business (B2B) industry is judged by this same criteria… especially with next-generation consumers who demand authenticity. The B2B service industry generally encompasses three different types of categories:
- Products, or tangible goods sold directly to other business, such as office supplies or food for a restaurant
- Software for business computers
- Services, such as legal advice to corporations, security services and call centers.
Unique ChallengesHowever, the service B2B industry creates a different set of unique challenges in both branding and marketing. Services, unlike products, are not tangible. They are abstract, unique and specific—and are enhanced by expertise and experience. And oftentimes services are personal and performed by individuals. Unlike products, services have no increased value because of different colors, shapes and sizes. In the service industry, you are literally selling yourself, or others in your organization, to another business. The old adage comes to mind, “My word is my bond.” Authenticity remains one of the most important traits in branding a B2B service business. There are many different definitions of the word authentic, but the Cambridge Dictionary says it is “the quality of being real or true.” After all, the services provided by one business to another come with an overarching expectation of trust. Trust in the quality of the service… Trust in the expertise… Trust in the execution. Therefore, associating authenticity with a service B2B is the foundation upon which any branding must begin. In today’s rapidly expanding social media and dotcom era, the internet of things (IoT) becomes all-encompassing. And authenticity is a leading factor in consumer purchasing decisions. A Business Insider report confirmed that “91% of consumers globally indicated that they were willing to reward a brand for being authentic by making a purchase, investment or an endorsement in 2017.” In the U.S., 62% of respondents said they would either purchase or be interested in purchasing from a brand that they viewed as authentic.
Clever and TrueThe service B2B industry is not immune to these numbers. However, branding does not stop with a creative name or clever marketing campaign that denotes authenticity. At the same time, being authentic does not mean you should sacrifice creativity. The sweet spot is building a brand that communicates both honesty and creativity. Finally, there are several additional ways a service B2B can increase its authenticity platform. Be sure to match your language to your ideal client or customer. Don’t lose sight of the importance of your visual identity and corporate branding. And advocating for social causes and being eco-friendly are always good when consistent with your overall message and practices. Authenticity matters… And with the influx of younger professionals and millennials into management positions it will matter more in the future.
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At Hummingbird Creative Group, we build business value through better branding. Contact us to find out how we can build your business’s value: 919 854 9100 | email@example.com