Research Proves B2B Branding Pays Off

By Ray Baird

Can a business prove that investing in a solid brand strategy really works? And if so, why does it matter? That’s the subject of a recent McKinsey report on brand strategy and practice. Get the full report.

If you’re ever asked to lead a B2B branding project or join a brand strategy team, you’re going to want to read this research report and discuss it with your associates. If you’re looking to convince your organizations’ leaders that branding matters, you may want to share this post and the referenced report with them.

Historically, B2B branding has been considered a soft asset — one with many different definitions and expectations. Many times B2B corporations put branding emphasis on marketing and the creative application instead of viewing it from a strategic orientation driving decisions. Well, McKinseys recent report does an excellent job on outlining current facts around B2B branding and provides examples of businesses that have invested in a brand strategy and can attribute much of their success to this. Here are some of the facts:

1. Brands drive customer decisions: FACT. Decision makers consider brand a central rather than marginal element.
2. Brands drive the bottom line: FACT. Strong brands generate higher EBIT.
3. Brands drive differentiation: FACT. Purchasing influencers say brands matter and fact-based branding provides real opportunities.

Additionally, the McKinsey study goes into what it takes to build a successful brand. It’s pretty basic and nothing we have not covered in previous blogs before, but it’s worth sharing as it relates to the research.

What It Takes To Build A Successful Brand:

1. Strategy: Project and image need to remain recognizable, credible and sustainable over time.
2. Consistency: Be clear across all communication, manage your people and the process.
3. Delivery: Sales reps remain the most important part. The “Human” touch is paramount to effective brand interaction.

Ok, no surprises here…really just branding 101. But it’s a simple refresher on brand basics supported by research. We like to add one more critical point of view in the changing landscape of B2B branding. What was once delivered, is now found. In past years, B2B marketers could push or deliver their messages and manage their ecosystems to a certain degree. In today’s interactive and digital world, it’s about being accessible, transparent and having a point of view (via thought leadership). B2B decision makers want to work with leading brands for TRUST and CREDIBILITY comfort.

So, the next time someone questions if B2B branding works, give them the facts and more importantly give them the path to developing a well thought out brand strategy.