Hummingbird’s 2021 survey of marketing decision-makers revealed their belief that having a strong brand is important partly because they see buyers of their organizations — both business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) — as requiring their providers to have a strong brand.
But when we looked at the data a little more closely, we found that decision-makers in B2C organizations who feel that customers and prospects emphasize a strong brand outnumbered those in B2B organizations by more than double (40% vs 19%).
Among our respondents were three distinct groups— Brand Believers, Metrics Masters, and Disengaged Doubters — set apart by the attitudes they shared toward branding development. Read more about the characteristics of each group in our previous post.
For now, it’s important to know that 69% of the three groups combined believe their organization’s brand is either very strong or fairly strong in the minds of their target customers. So while B2C marketing leaders tend to feel more strongly that their prospects need them to have a strong brand, all have done the work of building a brand that they believe is strong in their prospects’ minds.
Their responses raise questions about the importance of brand strength for B2B and B2C organizations… Let’s take a closer look at how brand strength similarly benefits all companies and then how B2B and B2C businesses build it differently.
In both cases, branding helps improve business value. Whether your company is a B2B or B2C model, having a strong brand means you can:
“In the past, job security, decent compensation, or at least a tangible opportunity was the price of entry for people coming into organizations. Now a massive number of employees not only want to feel invested in the work they do, but they also want to see that their employer is invested in the same things they value and believe in.”
Attracting the employees who value what your company values takes the same strategy that attracts prospects…differentiating your company and defining its culture. Today’s workforce wants to know your values and what matters most to you. And they want to know they can trust you to do what you say you’ll do.
When you communicate a clear brand message, your company is more likely to attract the talent that fits your culture well.
“People are more likely to trust a brand they’re familiar with or have at least heard about. They don’t feel as compelled to ask as many questions or conduct as much research as they would for a brand they don’t know.” – American Marketing Association
When you’ve built a strong brand and positioned your company well through consistent messaging, trustworthy testimonials, and more, you’re more likely to attract prospects that are similar to your current customers and need the products or services you’re offering.
- Benefit from more defined processes.
“The delivery of your brand through timing and across channels significantly contributes to the consistency of experience. The channels you choose, as well as the frequency of contact, create a rhythm of communication.” – American Marketing Association
Defined processes contribute to the consistency of your brand. When your customers know what they can expect when, your brand’s credibility, promise, and differentiating factors truly set you apart. Your brand’s personality becomes increasingly clear…amplifying brand awareness and loyalty as well.
- Grow revenue faster.
A strong brand grows revenue faster because customers are more likely to purchase products from a brand they know and trust. Strong brands also have high customer equity, which means that customers are more likely to continue doing business with the brand in the future.
Because strong brands have both of these things working in their favor, they can generate more sales and grow at a faster rate than their weaker counterparts.
A brand’s strength is important for both B2B and B2C organizations because it can ultimately affect their bottom line and increase their transferable business value.
Attracting the right employees, getting the attention of ideal prospects, delivering consistency through defined processes, and growing revenue quickly are some of the tangible effects of a strong brand…whether that brand serves other businesses or sells directly to consumers.
We’ve seen quite a few similarities in the importance of brand strength. Now, let’s look at some of the differences in how brands build that strength.
- B2C brands tend to be more visible.
Brands selling directly to consumers tend to use a more transactional approach. Because their prospects often make impulsive purchases, they need to quickly communicate the value of their products and services. They also need their brand to be widely recognized by a large audience.
Social media and other digital marketing platforms are key for these brands because those platforms allow B2C brands to create an initial connection with the wider audience they’re trying to reach.
- B2C companies often spend more money on advertising to grow brand awareness.
Spending money on advertising is another way B2C brands can get in front of the wider audience they’re reaching for. Ads get their products and services in front of large numbers of B2C prospects through a variety of mediums — social media channels, television outlets, radio spotlights, print advertisements, and more.
On the other hand, B2B brands have narrower audiences and rely more on relationship building strategies so they can build brand awareness among suppliers and vendors in their specific target markets.
- B2B companies depend more on sales enablement to grow brand awareness.
Sales enablement is a critical part of any B2B company’s marketing strategy. By providing sales teams with the tools and resources they need to be successful, B2B companies can ensure that their sales teams are able to effectively sell their products and services to potential customers. In turn, they increase brand awareness and drive sales.
B2B and B2C businesses may build brand awareness in different ways, but brand strength matters for both. How strong is your brand?