A longstanding misconception about branding is that it is only for consumer products. Branding efforts in business to business marketing therefore are a waste of time – or so the old-school rationale goes.
What do B2B and B2C brands have in common? They are all brands and they all need to appeal to people. A brand is a short-cut to the attributes, benefits, beliefs and values that differentiate products. Brands reduce complexity and simplify the decision-making process – including decisions by a business to buy another business’ product.
The key marketing device that businesses are applying in B2B marketing is the use of emotional language at all touchpoints of the brand – from the logo through to other brand elements and experiences. A brand is emotional. It has a unique personality. A strong brand captures the hearts and minds of clients and other stakeholders.
Emotions that B2B brands commonly invoke are confidence, trust, desire and comfort. FedEx, Airbus and Caterpillar are all businesses that primarily generate revenues from other businesses. FedEx’s clients can be confident that their deliveries will arrive at their destination on time. Caterpillar is a trusted machinery brand – it will get the job done. Airbus successfully positioned its A380 flying experience as a desirable product that will give travelers all of the comfort that the newest technology can provide.