Jul 11, 2011

Branding in B2B Environment

All businesses use a rational decision making process in buying based on quality, features/functionality and price. However, branding is a touchy, feely consumer thing based on emotional associations fueling buying decisions. Good branding is not about stirring people into irrational buying decisions. It's about communicating the benefits and value a business, service or product provides to customers. In considering branding, the B2B organization should be analyzing the following things: How does brand strategy support ones’ business strategy? What is organizations’ aspirational brand identity and what do one need to get there? What value proposition is most valuable to the customers? How does one align an organization to make the brand and value proposition a reality?
The major drawbacks a company faces during its branding process in B2B businesses are as: Branding is only a “Consumer Products Thing”. For amazement, IBM not successfully tapped into the power of branding by focusing on the value it provided customers and simplifying the buying experience for customers. Hence, by streamlining its powerful corporate computer offerings and rebranding them under the new "e-Servers" brand. Thus, customers were more easily able to understand IBM's server offerings.
Second is branding is simply a “Name and Logo” game. Changing the name and redesigning a logo have no value if they are done without an underlying purpose. A brand encompasses all the associations, perceptions and experiences an interested person has with a company at its every touch point. Third, only “Products” are branded. In fact brands are powerful assets, but can be under-utilized and even damaging if not supported by an underlying strategy and resources.
Fourthly, Brands Take Care of themselves. If a brand is an asset, then it must be treated like one - receiving investment, management and maintenance. A brand is affected by internal and external forces requiring reactions and changes. Fifth one is as; branding decisions are based on purely “Internal Perspectives”. By gaining customer input, they will better determine their current brand image and also discover what they need to do to make it more relevant.
Last and sixth, branding is only an externally focused “Marketing Endeavor”. The effect of brand on the entire business organization is as failure to realize the internal implications and develop internal brand building programs causes confusion, and, ultimately, failure for lack of support. An effective brand strategy requires internal communications and training on what the brand represents, where the company is going with its brand and what needs to be done to get there.

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