I was walking through the Ottawa Airport recently and saw an SAP ad stating “Canada Post Runs Better on SAP”. This ad was not targeting consumers, but rather the business people that move through the airport on a daily basis.
Wendy Marx in her Fastcompany article states: “If the German software company SAP is not yet at the top of your mind as one of the world’s most recognizable brands, here’s betting it will be. The business software management company was ranked the 24th most valuable brand in the world in 2011 ahead of Amazon and Nike. Not bad for a company that does the behind-the-scenes work that help businesses run better.”
Likewise, the Accenture website provides samples of their global advertising campaigns–below are ads featuring Caterpillar and Unilever.
This highlights the fact that B2B marketers are not marketing to entities but to people, and people have emotions. Therefore, the same reasons why brands are important to consumers, are the same and often more compelling reasons they are also important to managers who have even larger dollar decisions to make for their companies they represent.
Keven Rantel (Moveo Integrated Branding) wrote “B2B buyers are overwhelmed with choices, features, benefits, information, data, and metrics. The typical RFP process involves dozens of potential vendors and hundreds of question–more information than any buyer could evaluate. The fact that B2B buyers have emotions means that no matter how disciplined a buying process is, they will still use heuristics to simplify their decision making.”
The book “Business Market Management: Understanding, Creating and Delivering Value” argues that strong brands are reflected in the following actions on the part of the buyer:
- Greater willingness to try a product or service
- Less time needed to close the sale of an offering
- Greater likelihood that the product or service is purchased
- Willingness to award a larger share of purchase requirement
- Willingness to pay a price premium
- Less sensitive in regard to price increases
- Less inducement to try a competitive offering
These two sources both confirm that branding is as important to B2B, if not moreso than it is to B2C.