- April 7, 2015
B2B Branding: Just Work, Baby
They say death and taxes are the only universal certainties. To those I would add: Everybody consumes. And all consumption is influenced by branding.
B2B Branding: What do logic and emotion have to do with it?
Branding works because logic has surprisingly little impact on your decision what to buy, especially when the products you’re choosing from aren’t all that different. In the absence of logic, emotion takes over — more specifically, the human instinct to survive and succeed. There are a thousand varieties of canned beans and running shoes and batteries and the reason you buy Green Giant and Nike and Duracell is because branding tricks your brain into believing your family will never get sick eating Green Giant (survive) and you’ll Just Win that 5K wearing Nike (succeed). You don’t buy Duracell so that your flashlight works – you buy Duracell because it helps you see in the dark.
Branding and emotion also play powerful roles in B2B tech purchasing. A recent study from the Corporate Executive Board (CEB) shows that customers with a strong emotional connection to a B2B brand are 13x more likely to purchase from that provider and 30x more likely to pay a premium.
The role of branding in B2B technology purchasing
We’d all like to think IT buyers rely purely on logic and data when buying a $75,000 storage array. But in reality they, too, are motivated by survival instinct. Contrary to most marketers’ assumptions, most IT buyers don’t care about getting ahead or creating competitive advantage for their companies. What they really care about is uptime, reliability, accessibility. No outages, no data leakage, no 2 a.m. calls from the boss.
That’s why branding is so important in B2B. Buyers want the stuff they purchase to just work and if it doesn’t, they need to feel confident defending the decision to buy anyway. That confidence comes from the knowledge that other people at least recognize the brand and maybe even have a positive perception of it. Buyers need to know that their colleagues would make the same decision in that situation.
“Nobody gets fired for buying IBM” is a well-worn clichÃ©, but it applies not just to the first purchase but to the second and third and the tenth. The emotional hold that branding has on customers is so strong that they’ll almost always buy inferior technology from an established brand than put their neck on the line for superior technology from an unknown vendor. The CEB study backs this up: Nearly half of IT buyers surveyed admitted they have wanted to buy a new solution but didn’t speak up over fears of backing an unknown brand. The larger the buying team, the stronger the motivation to stick with the establishment.
This is why big brands brand big and why, even if you’re a small vendor, you have to create some brand recognition among the IT committee. Or you’ll never make it past the short list.
Put your branding to work
B2B branding image via Shutterstock.