Does having a good brand matter in a B2B environment? Here is the feedback from over 5,000 professionals.
“Branding is not a priority in business-to-business” — we hear it often from both business owners and their branding professionals. In most cases, those who are unrecognized and relatively unsuccessful compared to their competitors in their respective segment.
Top-performing B2B companies will tell you that branding is one of their most important access. They know this because they listen to their customers and measure how their brand and marketing communications impact their overall business performance.
Our company Brand Auditor delivers over 200 brand audits monthly, to clients from startups to Fortune 500 companies.
Branding in a business-to-business environment serves the same purpose as it does in B2C; to make a great first impression, to demonstrate credibility, and to explain how their solution is supposed to solve problems and bring value to their buyers. Underestimating the importance of this, and failing to have the essential brand and marketing communications goals covered will undermine the chances of successful sales.
This article is not about our conclusions. It is about what over 5,000 respondents said about the importance of a good brand in a B2B environment.
Key statistics from our market research survey:
First impression experience
- 87% said that they would ignore a poorly branded company
- 64% said that they would pay more for a company with a great brand
- 58% said that they would not contact a company with a poor brand
- 12% said that they would give another chance for a poorly branded company
Potential customers are significantly more likely to engage with a company with positive branding. These results are not surprising, but hopefully, they got the attention of those who think that B2B branding is not important.
Feedback data from over 1 million feedback data shows that first impression experience has key importance in developing engagement. Regardless of the nature of business, people like to be impressed and a well-crafted introduction is always a good experience. A good first impression will not only reduce bounce rate and boost engagement but will help to develop credibility.
What makes a good first impression experience?
- 89% said that appropriate communication gets their attention
- 75% said that a neat website or app makes them stay
- 52% said that typography and colors are important
- 45% said that credibility is what they are looking for
Brand and marketing communications: what your potential customers expect from you?
The next question in the market research was about what brand and marketing communications do professional respondents expect from B2B companies?
- 72% said that clarity is the most important, jargon is not welcome
- 68% said that communication needs to demonstrate expertise and professionalism
- 53% said that they expect very specific product presentations
- 49% said that benefits need to be presented clearly
The audit results outline that clarity, specific presentations, demonstrated expertise, and no-brainer benefits are what B2B product and service buyers expect to see. Let’s see what communication elements are not welcome in the world of business-to-business marketing.
- 54% said that sales and “call to action” content is a turn-off
- 41% said that educational content from B2B companies is often valueless
- 38% said that any content that leaves them guessing is a disappointment
- 27% said emotional elements in B2B marketing are not welcome
Further data we have from our audits suggests, that frequent communication from B2B companies is not welcome. There is a plethora of information on the internet that encourages frequent emailing and communication to keep potential customers engaged, but over 75% of 1 million respondents indicated that this kind of content did not contribute to their purchase decision. 80% of those who did not purchase confessed that frequent email marketing communication was one of the reasons they abandoned the company.
The importance of credibility in B2B brand management: what makes or breaks the perceived credibility of your business?
Following the brand discovery process, after a first impression and brief idea of your products and services, your potential clients will want to know if your company is legit, reliable, and trustworthy. What signs and signals are they looking for? Let’s see what they shared in our market research.
- 92% said that clear and specific product presentations boost confidence
- 89% said that a professional, yet clear tone of voice helps to establish credibility
- 74% said that specific case studies and uses cases win their trust
- 52% said that reviews and references are important
The importance of case studies, reviews, and endorsements is not surprising, but 92% saying that product presentations are key does require attention. In the brand audit results of our B2B clients, poor product presentations often reduce the perceived credibility of the company. Brands with a lacking product presentation are very likely to receive poor low ratings for various credibility-related factors.
Now let’s see the top brand and marketing communication mistakes that will be guaranteed to bust credibility.
- 87% said that misusing and overusing client company logos is a big turn-off
- 79% said that poor product presentation will lose their interest
- 68% said that irrelevant social media content is a credibility-killer
- 62% said that an inappropriate tone of voice is unacceptable
The results of this research are not surprising. Professionalism, a clear and concise presentation, and credibility are confirmed to be the key traits that convince B2B customers to consider buying from a company.
Please keep in mind, that this market research was purely focused on surface-level branding aspects that shape the first impression and initial opinion of viewers. Crafting a winner first-impression experience for the viewers of your brand is only the first step to get their attention.
Once you have the attention of your potential customers, a variety of other factors will determine if they want to get in touch with you — such as your business concept, pricing, revenue model, and compatibility — which are part of a different discussion.
We see that branding and marketing communications in the case of B2B companies are often treated as a non-priority. This is a big mistake as failing to impress potential customers, or neglecting their preferences have a direct negative impact on sales — and can sabotage growth both short and long term.