Rebranding in B2B
B2B Rebranding. Business’s Greatest Asset.
B2B rebranding seems like a luxury to many. Because, so much of the business-to-business success is from direct sales. (See a Glen Guard B2B case study here). As a result, B2B marketing is often secondary. And B2B advertising is often limited to brochures, trade shows and website design. Branding and rebranding often seems like a cost with low ROI.
How is B2B rebranding different from consumer brands?
Brand is not corporate identity. Even though your logo and symbols are PART of your brand. They are NOT your brand.
They are all symbols that you use to help customers remember the product or service you are selling.
Ideally, you want your identity marks to be different from the competitor’s.
When we talk about marks we mean your logo, color palette, symbols and even your style and tone. You need to create space between you and your competitors. So they do not blur.
”It is not a description of your product or service. It is not a product or corporate name. Brand is not a description of what you do or how well you do it.”
What is BRAND?
Might be easier to say what brand is not. It is not a description of your product or service. It is not a product or corporate name. Brand is not a description of what you do or how well you do it.
However, BRAND is a reflection of your customer and prospect.
Let me give you an example by way of a consumer brand.(Download a PDF on Rebranding here)
Consider Jif peanut butter
The brand name is Jif. But P&G understands what a brand IS. They know that when consumers shop for like-products they measure a few values. One is price. As a result, Jif must be priced within the price elasticity of the category.
So Jiff can’t sell for twice as much as a competitor’s brand. It is in the range that the category considers FAIR.
Jif won’t claim that its peanut butter is more easily spread. Or, how it compliments jelly. These are TABLE STAKES in the category. You can’t be a peanut butter and not have those attributes.
”Procter and Gamble quickly figured it out. Taste was important but the most important reason Moms bought Jif was found in the brand promise. Jif promised choosy mothers choose Jif.”
The ah-ha moment for Jif
When the brand first launched, Jif primarily claimed that it “tastes more like fresh peanuts.”
If you’re old enough to remember the advertising, Jif used a demo to drive home this difference.
Using special effects, whole peanuts were on the bread and, when a knife passed over them, they changed to peanut butter. They ended the spot with the words “that’s why choosey mothers choose Jif.”
P&G knows how to sell
Jif promised choosy mothers choose Jif.
Everything else they said was used to support that claim. Choosy mothers choose Jif because—
Freshest taste, better taste, more like fresh peanuts and so on.
The brand was and is— Choosy Mothers.
“Business-to-Business brands always think of themselves in concrete terms. They see what they sell as tangible. And they regard rebranding as silly and frivolous.”
A real brand sells an IDEA not a product
The BIG idea was that being a choosy mother was MORE important than any other attribute. Shoppers sought out the brand. And they paid more for it. All to reinforce the feeling that they were better moms.
It allowed Jif to sell at the highest price in the category. It was more important than any other claim Jif could make to build preference.
And it was about the MOTHER. Not the PRODUCT.
B2B rebranding contains many of the same branding rules
B2B rebranding takes a back seat to R&D, pricing wars and lists of product benefits. (Read about transitioning from sales to marketing driven strategies here.)
So the business-to-business question is this. Is your product the best in the category? Does it have clear advantages over competitive like-products?
If in fact these were the main creators of choice then the market leader would ALWAYS have the most effective product.
If price was all that mattered then the cheapest product would ALWAYS be the category leader.
“Our market research uncovers their most important motivations and influencers. And it might surprise you to know that strongest motivator in B2B rebranding is always an emotional IDEA.”
When we create a B2B rebranding identify the emotional reasons behind choice.
It makes perfect sense that market research can identify the highest emotional intensity in peanut butter. It was just a matter of asking the right questions and conducting great research. Projectable market research.
But on the surface, Business-to-Business rebranding seems like a different story. The argument is that the sale is made to a company or enterprise.
Not to individuals.
But is that true?
Does a company make the decision of what B2B products to buy or use?
At the end of the sales ladder stands an individual who makes that decision.
Make no mistake about it.
All individuals have BRAND aspirations
The decision maker has a personality. They have personal goals and corporate responsibilities. We conduct research on these decision makers when the B2B rebranding strategy is formulated.
We figure out who they are when no one is looking.
The research uncovers their most important motivations and influencers. And it might surprise you to know that strongest motivator in B2B rebranding is always an emotional IDEA.
If they are choosing solely on price. We find out WHY they value it so highly.
Is it because they believe they should always make smart decisions?
Do they believe being better informed requires them to know all the choices available?
Are they trying to weigh the complex difference between price and value?
Business-to-Business rebranding opens doors to selling
Reinforcing what the decision maker values about their own identity is the highest motivator. And, it helps the sales force sell. Because it gives them more to sell than a simple laundry list of attributes. Just like the mom who chooses Jif, your customers seek to reinforce their core self-concept. The self-definition found in the decisions they make.
They bring an emotional underpinning to the choices they make just like the Starbucks customer.
Research is how we figure it out.
All the other elements in B2B rebranding fit under this umbrella. And all of the value that you market becomes MORE important. Because of the story of WHY you do what you do. And make what you make.
Saint Jude Medical is a B2B brand.
They make implantable medical and cardiac devices sold to cardiology departments in hospitals.
We discovered that the decision makers believed that the more control they have (over everything) the better the outcome.
So the Saint Jude Medical brand promised control over risk.
They moved from fourth place in their category to second place in market share. And all because of an emotional trigger. A trigger uncovered in their target markets self-definition. Uncovered with REAL research.
B2B rebranding is all that Business-to-Business owns
It makes your brand memorable and preferred. And it increases your margins and grows your market share. It also makes your sales force better.
All the other values are your business responsibilities. For example, you have an obligation to bring new products to market. You must focus on excellence. Even your pricing needs to reflect the category.
But when you NEED to increase preference and take leadership you need B2B rebranding. We know all about that.
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