Brand trust is vital in order to maintain longevity and win over competition. Building this trust goes much deeper than what is seen as face value. It’s about creating a reason to believe.
For B2B companies, having credibility with just the immediate customer base is not enough. Attention must be paid to secondary and perhaps even tertiary customers in the chain of consumption.
Ask yourself this question – How does your company benefit the end user?
Often, our clients don’t think about how their brand impacts the end user and they instead focus mostly on their direct customers. It seems logical, right? But, do your customers’ customers even know what you do? Why use up time and energy on resources that could be allocated to something that has immediate impact? The answer may be simple, but how you get there doesn’t happen overnight.
We now live in a highly communicative world where technology enables people all over the world to get instantaneous information. The positive for businesses is that through sophisticated online profiles – whether on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or YouTube – they have the opportunity to educate and promote new product/service offerings. The caveat with an abundance of online information with real-time feedback is that customers are more sophisticated than ever. They have the opportunity to review, dissect and criticize every single bit of what a brand does.
This is why it’s important for B2B brands to focus on creating a lasting, positive impression and awareness. Connecting with end users is much more than an online or social media presence; rather it’s about defining the WHY. B2B brands need to think about what role they play further down the supply chain and how their business practices impact everyone involved.
In this day, some large corporations who are B2C may choose to only work with a B2B supplier that their customer base respects and trusts. There is a risk that your customers’ customers may find something they don’t like about your business practices and this jeopardizes the entire business relationship. For example, Lego had to drop its supplier (APP Packaging) after activists rallied against the supplier’s record of deforestation.
B2B communication strategies need to be targeted and not just about sales to build brand trust. Many of the world’s top B2B companies have developed tactics that promote the brand to the end-user customer base, which creates a win-win situation for all parties involved. Take Intel for example. While consumers may look for Intel microprocessor in their PC’s, Intel doesn’t actually sell their product to consumers directly, but rather PC manufacturers. A strategic approach in the 1990s with the “Intel Inside” advertising campaign made Intel and the Pentium processor household names. The result was a consumer demand which required that every PC manufacturer incorporate Intel chips into their products.
On another end of the spectrum, General Electric has built credibility from direct-to-customer sales. While selling to businesses is GE’s primary focus, having dialogue with the end consumer gives GE a competitive advantage. On a different scale, Donald Trump has taken commercial real estate to the next level by promoting his name on a brand of neck ties in big box department stores. It’s about making consumers aware and making the brand more approachable that helps add more value.
Bottom Line: B2Bs need to start thinking more like B2Cs in terms of communication strategies. Creating positive brand awareness amongst everyone involved down to the end consumer will ultimately position a B2B brand for continued leadership and success.