B2B brands should be just as aspirational as those in B2C.

Manufacturing brands, engineering and other B2B services can sometimes overlook the importance of brand, sometimes feeling that customers are buying for a company and do not need anything aspirational, that B2B buyers are rational and are not influenced by brand or that it is all about the salesperson’s relationship. But a brand is more than just its visual representation, it has far deeper meaning. It signals what you do, how you do it and what makes you worth a second look. So, what does a strong brand look like?

It should be recognised for the right things It should ensure that potential clients understand what the brand is capable of so that they can remember them when the time comes draw up the short lists. People like what they know, so your brand should try to be on the same level as customers.

A strong brand should be true It should deliver its promise, not under delivering or over promising and have employees who understand the reality of what that means to the customer.

It should be able to have a differentiation in what or how the offering is made. There can be parity in your market and people will see the same benefits from brand to brand in your sector, so it is about what makes your brand different. It’s down to what or how something is designed, made, done or delivered, not just the product.

It should be emotional. This can often be overlooked for B2B brands. Good manufacturing brands, engineering brands and other B2B brands create emotional connections that resonate with people. Brand stories, imagery, words that create emotion are memorable and gives the brand a chance to show a ‘personality’ to prospective clients.

The brand values start to show through these communications, some are expected such as trustworthy, experienced, skilled and are qualities clients and employees can take pride in. Other qualities are unique to the brand for example, Mercedes Benz clients consider the brand personality to be sophisticated, smart, elegant, respected and successful. In some cases, a prospect will select a brand because it is in keeping with their self-image.

It is centred on a clear, single-minded idea. A brand should be known for the right things. During development stages, research and the identification of a brand’s positioning culminates in an idea of what that brand is known for in customers’ minds that has not been taken up by a competitor brand. This central idea that the brand will be known for and how the brand behaves is consistently relayed and strengthens it over time.

It should understand that it cannot appeal to all prospects… Companies with strong brands will segment customers, not just by factors like company size and geography, but also by behaviour, what are their needs. It can then target those that are the most commercially attractive, and where the offer can be adapted to them.

But should appeal to all anticipated contacts both customer and prospect, as well as employees, partners and opinion makers. The brand is built to create strong loyalty and advocacy, be on short lists and create positive ongoing commentary.

Food for thought? We hope so. Try taking a measure of your brand using some of the factors above then if you have any questions or would like a brand audit, get in touch for a no obligation chat.